Tag: "Geraldo Rivera"
Cumulus Wins First Round in Birmingham Non-Compete Case. A federal judge in Birmingham has ruled that sports talk WZNN “ESPN 97.3” program director Ryan Haney cannot work for the Cox Media station until more evidence is heard at a hearing scheduled for March 4. The Birmingham News reports Cumulus sought the prohibition after Haney – who had been with its crosstown competitor WJOX for the past 14 years – left the PD job there on January 21and began working at WZNN a week later. Cumulus claims Haney breached the six-month non-compete in his contract. Cumulus also states Haney could not work for a competitor during that time without giving Cumulus a chance to match the prospective employer’s offer. The animosity between the two sports talk stations did not begin with Haney’s case. In 2012, Cumulus and Birmingham sports talk personality Paul Finebaum engaged in a legal tussle over his employment situation but Finebaum eventually worked out his contract with WJOX and is sitting out a six-month non-compete after which it is widely assumed he’ll join WZNN. On a side note, Cox Media has put its Birmingham properties – including WZNN – up for sale.
Lew Dickey Tells Bloomberg “We’re Seeing a Shift in Spoken-Word Radio.” During an appearance on Bloomberg TV’s “In the Loop” program, Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey discussed his company’s plans involving marketing vertically based on the lifestyle appeal to consumers interested in certain types of entertainment. Although still bullish on Mike Huckabee and Geraldo Rivera, Dickey sounded much more behind sports than news/talk. “We’re seeing sort of a shift in spoken-word radio from political-based talk over to sports.” When asked why he stated, “I think people may be tired of all the partisan bickering so the ratings are a bit down in talk but they’re moving up nicely in sports.” Dickey said the reason sports is so popular among advertisers is because advertisers follow the audience and sports is popular right now.
Question of the Day: Why Do Radio Stations Still Announce School Closings? As the big Blizzard of ’13 begins to rumble across the Northeast (2/8), TALKERS monitors have been hearing morning shows across the region reading the perfunctory long lists of school closings within their listening areas. While there is no doubt that localism is proving to be a valuable asset to radio – especially when the medium rises to the occasion of serving the public interest during natural disasters and weather events - we have to shake our heads and wonder why so much valuable airtime is spent on reading these seemingly endless lists. Is it a matter of serving the public or just trying to sound like you’re doing so? It is a well-known (to parents and students alike) fact that most school districts in America post their snow status on their websites as soon as the information is available. If stations want in on that action they can list all the closings on their websites as well and announce that availability on the air. Considering that most, if not all, schools in a region close for blizzards, it would make a lot more sense to only announce those schools that might be choosing to remain open. Programmers might think that announcing school closings on the air over long chunks of time makes the station sound local and in touch – but in truth, it makes the station boring and seem out of touch.
Cumulus Birmingham Imports Sports Talk Duo from KTCK, Dallas. In a story related to the one above, Cumulus sports talker WJOX, Birmingham is bringing the duo of Matt McClearin and Scot Harrison from its Dallas sports outlet KTCK “The Ticket” in to take over the midday slot. The position opened up after Paul Finebaum exited the PM drive show at the end of his contract and the station moved “The Jox Roundtable” with Lance Taylor, Ryan Brown and Jim Dunaway to the PM drive position. McClearin and Harrison hosted a weekend program at KTCK.
TALKERS Spotlight: The Talk Radio Watchdogs. There was a time in the early days of the modern talk radio era when most markets could lay claim to at least one talk show host considered to be the local “watchdog.” He or she was feared by the power brokers in city hall and had a reputation for having the backs of the regular folks. They are not as prevalent in the format as they once were but they are still out there. Does the industry still value this breed of talk host? Does the public still want to listen to them? Do their station managers support them? TALKERS managing editor and West Coast bureau chief Mike Kinosian speaks with some of today’s “watchdogs” to get answers to these and other questions about their craft. Read his story here.
CBS Radio’s WHFS, Tampa Makes Lineup Changes. The new FM sports talk station CBS Radio put on the air in Tampa in August undergoes some changes. “Sportsradio 98.7 The Fan” cuts the morning show with Kirk McEwen and Chris Dingman to three hours and shifts Gary Shelton and Justin “The Commish” Pawlowski to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. The PM drive show with Rich Herrera and Anthony “Booger” McFarland moves to 3:00 pm to 7:00 pm and CBS Sports Radio’s Jim Rome slides into the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot. Evening host Todd Wright exits the station and The Fabulous Sports Babe moves from overnights to the evening show. CBS Sports Radio Networks’ Scott Ferrall and Damon Amendolara round out the late night and overnight shifts, respectively.
TuneIn Adds Four Pubcasters to its Offerings. Digital content aggregator TuneIn announces it has agreed to strategic alliances with major public broadcasters KQED, San Francisco; KCRW, Santa Monica; KEXP, Seattle; and American Public Media, which includes Southern California Public Radio, Minnesota Public Radio, Classical South Florida and nationally distributed programs. TuneIn VP of programming Kevin Straley states, “KQED, American Public Media, KCRW and KEXP have a rich history of offering listeners engaging, cutting-edge programming while supporting the radio community. Our goal at TuneIn is to bring the best programming from around the world to everyone, for free, wherever they are, and partnering with these respected public broadcasters brings us one step closer to that goal.” TuneIn also just unveiled a new website design featuring a new content-first display with large album cover photos and trending stations.
Odds & Sods. Tribune’s WGN, Chicago resumes its “Chicago Blackhawks Live” promotional series on February 18 at the city’s Old Town Pour House. The promotion is a series of one-hour radio broadcasts hosted over dinner throughout the 2012-2013 season featuring current Blackhawks players, legends, and front office executives with “WGN Sports Night” hosts David Kaplan, Brian Noonan, and Andrea Darlas. WGN began hosting these events during the 2011-2012 season and sold them out in record time…..SiriusXM announces legendary recording artist Tony Bennett will sit down for an intimate Q&A session with an audience of SiriusXM listeners, moderated by Alec Baldwin, at the SiriusXM studios in New York City as part of its “Town Hall” series. It’ll take place on Wednesday, February 13, and will air on Valentine’s Day, Thursday, February 14, on the Siriusly Sinatra channel and on the SiriusXM Stars channel…..Clear Channel announces that Houston Astros play-by-play will shift from news/talk KTRH to its sports talk KBME “Sportstalk 790” beginning this season…..In another baseball note, Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati re-ups with the MLB’s Reds through the 2017 season…..The Boston Red Sox and the Jimmy Fund – which benefits Boston’s Dana-Farber Cancer Institute – are celebrating their 60th year working together to raise funds for cancer research and treatment. Part of that celebrating will include the 12th annual Red Sox Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon on Entercom’s WEEI and New England Sports Network on August 27 and 28. The event, which started in 2002, has raised more than $31 million for research, treatment, and care at Dana-Farber.
KYW, Philadelphia Awards Scholarship. CBS Radio’s KYW Newsradio awards the Richard Monetti Scholarship to local high school student Kimberly Coterwas (second from right) – one of the 86 students to graduate from KYW Newsradio 2012 Fall Newstudies program. She receives a $2,000 scholarship. The award was announced at the Newstudies Graduation ceremony on January 31. The Richard Monetti Scholarship is awarded every year to the Newstudies student who demonstrates the most potential and enthusiasm throughout the six-week student reporter program. The scholarship is named for Richard Monetti, a 1986 Newstudies graduate who was killed in the bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 over Lockerbie, Scotland, in 1988. Additionally, 11 other students who participated in the Newstudies program received awards. CBS Radio Philadelphia SVP and market manager Marc Rayfield states, “KYW Newsradio is proud to continue the tradition of introducing high school students to the broadcast industry. It’s also nice to be able to award those that did exceptionally well, and keep the memory of a former Newstudies graduate alive.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Radio America’s Peter Schiff program picks up new affiliates for the program including: KPAM, Portland; WGUF, Ft. Myers, Florida; WEZS, Concord, New Hampshire; KFAR, Fairbanks, Alaska; and WTIM, Taylorville, Illinois….. “Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WTBF, Troy, Alabama. Also, existing affiliate combo WGVA, Geneva and WAUB, Auburn in the Finger Lakes region of New York adds Free Talk Live’s live Sunday show.
Sequester Cuts and Tax Hikes Issue Top News/Talk Story for Week of February 4-8. The debate in Washington over the coming sequester budget cuts and more tax increases was the most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week, earning it the top spot on the Talkers TenTM. Coming in at #2 was immigration reform. At #3 was the costs of President Obama’s Affordable Care Act and at #4 was gun legislation proposals. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS. It is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Radio Comes Through for Charity for Holiday Giving and in Times of Disaster. Radio is a business and making a profit is the first goal of any business. But radio stations and radio corporations have a documented history of giving back to the communities they serve through the organization of charitable giving. That service is evident even during difficult economic times as stations large and small regularly step up to the plate to take time out from creating entertaining programming while risking losing listener interest in order to do charitable work. This year the industry is seeing a confluence of disaster relief needs and the annual holiday charity programs. Relief efforts for victims of Hurricane Sandy include such assistance as: CRN Digital Talk Radio’s $2,351 donation to the cause; Townsquare Media-owned New Jersey 101.5’s ongoing “Restore New Jersey” campaign; Cox Media Group’s $75,000 donation to relief organizations; Geraldo Rivera’s recent live “radiothon” on Cumulus Media’s WABC; CBS’s radio and TV stations’ daylong phone bank; CBS Philadelphia partnered with Live Nation/Comcast Spectacor to offer concert tickets to the Bob Dylan and Mark Knopfler show on November 19 in exchange for donations to the American Red Cross Disaster Relief Fund that brought in $30,000; as well as Clear Channel’s planned 12-12-12 concert in New York City. Disaster relief is not the only cause that radio rises to assist. Radio’s charitable projects include aid to organizations that individual stations have chosen to work with regularly – such as KGO, San Francisco’s long-running annual radiothon to fight leukemia — plus regular holiday-oriented giving programs. The following are just a few that have come to our attention recently:
Cumulus Nashville to Program Radiothon for Local Rescue Mission. News/talk WTN, Nashville will host a radiothon on Monday, November 19 beginning at 5:00 am and running through 7:00 pm to raise funds for the Nashville Rescue Mission. Morning host Ralph Bristol begins the day and the fundraising continues with hosts Michael DelGiorno, Dave Ramsey, and Phil Valentine all committing their shows to raising funds for the Rescue Mission’s programs. In addition to his own show, Michael DelGiorno will participate with the other WTN personalities throughout the day. DelGiorno’s extra duties start by broadcasting live at the Rescue Mission from 7:30 am to 8:30 am with Ralph Bristol live from the studio. He then hosts Dave Ramsey from 9:00 am to 10:00 am at the station. His normal show then gets extended to 1:00 pm effectively preempting the Mike Huckabee show. And then to close out the Radiothon, DelGiorno returns for the final push from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm.
Clear Channel’s KLAC, Los Angeles Raises $135,000 for Paralyzed Veterans. Sports talk outlet KLAC, Los Angeles held its fifth annual Paralyzed Veterans of America Live Radiothon and Online Auction recently, calling in local and national celebrities to help raise a record $135,000 for the charity. KLAC and Fox Sports Radio Network personalities Steve Hartman, Vic “The Brick” Jacobs, Petros Papadakis and Rob Dibble hosted the radiothon and were joined by Dodgers great Tommy Lasorda; rocker Eddie Money; Lakers legend James Worthy; model Leeann Tweeden; and boxing great Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, among others. Pictured here are (from l-r): KLAC’s Steve Hartman, Ray “Boom Boom” Mancini, KLAC’s Vic “The Brick” Jacobs and KLAC producer Sam Betesh.
WEEI, Boston Recognized for Cancer Charity Work. Entercom’s sports WEEI, Boston was recognized by the Lung Cancer Alliance of New England for its work bringing attention to and raising funds for the treatment and cure of the disease as part of its annual Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon held in conjunction with cable’s New England Sports Network each August. This past August, the 11th annual two-day event raised more than $3.3 million for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute. Entercom Boston VP of programming and operations Jason Wolfe says, “It’s an incredible honor to be recognized by the Global Lung Cancer Coalition and I’m so proud to accept this award on behalf of all of us at WEEI. Cancer affects us all, and we are blessed to have had such tremendous success shining a light on this terrible disease through the efforts of the Jimmy Fund radio-telethon. I want to thank everyone at the GLCC for their support. It means a great deal to our entire staff.” Pictured here are (from l-r): Wolfe; Rob Gronkowski, tight end for the New England Patriots; and Rich Monopoli, LCA New England co-director.
FCC Chairman Genachowski Asks Commission to Approve Cross-Ownership. The change in rules would be permanent for companies operating radio-TV-newspaper combos in the top 20 markets. Stations such as Tribune’s WGN, Chicago have been living on temporary exemptions to the law forbidding such cross-ownership for years. FCC chairman Julius Genachowski is asking the commissioners to approve the move without a public meeting vote as soon as today and the change could take effect tomorrow (11/16). Bloomberg reports that for Tribune, the vote would be a requirement for the company’s exit from bankruptcy protection.
Conclave Names Seasoned Radio Pro Bob Shannon Executive Director. Veteran radio broadcasting executive Bob Shannon has been named the Conclave’s new executive director. He succeeds the organization’s first executive director, Tom Kay, who recently retired after almost four decades of service. In announcing the appointment, Conclave board of directors chairman Mark Bolke says, “There obviously is no replacement for Tom Kay and his shaping the Conclave organization for the past 37 years. The executive selection committee was presented with a list of excellent candidates from which to choose. Bob Shannon represents the consummate broadcasting professional with a shared vision and passion to move the Conclave into a new era. We are thrilled to name him as our new executive director.” Shannon, whose consulting company bobshannonworks is based in Minneapolis, is also president of SpotMedia Services, a former executive vice president at TM Century, and the author of Turn It Up! American Radio Tales 1946-1996. On accepting the position Shannon states, “As a student of radio I’ve long admired Tom and what he’s done at the Conclave. Moving forward my goal is to build on his vision by expanding our online activity and looking very closely at how radio and our learning conference are addressing changes in media. This is a very exciting time, ripe with opportunities for those who know how to create compelling content. Stay tuned!”
Newsmax Steps Up Audio and Video Content; Terrestrial Radio Programs in Development. Months ago TALKERS reported on the digital initiatives going on at conservative media firm Newsmax that include its video channel Newsmax TV. Now, the Chris Ruddy-led media organization is announcing the further development of these ventures. Newsmax says it will soon be expanding to an online 24/7 network. The online TV network will focus on simulcasting radio content online. It will also develop its own radio shows for Newsmax TV and broadcast these on terrestrial radio as well. In 2013, the company plans to significantly ramp up its online TV presence and radio activities and has constructed a state-of-the-art broadcast studio in its New York offices. Staff for the projects includes Chad Wilkinson as executive producer of programming; Tamara Karcev as director of affiliate relations for radio programming. In addition, former WABC, New York program director John Mainelli is consulting the project.
Wayne Powers Returns to WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. After four years as regular fill-in host at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte, Wayne Powers removed himself from the station’s roster in February in order to run as a Republican for an At-Large seat on the Mecklenburg County Commission. After a May primary win, Powers came up short in the November 6 general election. “It was tough to beat the huge straight-ticket Democrat vote here in the DNC convention city,” says Powers. He returns for Thanksgiving and Black Friday, guest hosting WBT’s Keith Larson show.
Petraeus Scandal, Benghazi Investigation, ‘Fiscal Cliff,’ Israel-Syria Conflict, and New Chinese Leader Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (11/14). The expanding David Patraeus-Paula Broadwell scandal; questions about the Benghazi attack and Petraeus’ role in the investigation; Congress and the Obama Administration begin tackling the ‘fiscal cliff’; the violent conflict between Israel and Syria; and the change in Chinese leadership as Xi Jinping succeeds Hu Jintao as secretary general were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Clear Channel Pulls the Plug on Progressive Talk KPOJ, Portland. The conspiracy theories from listeners and progressive talk fans are already pouring in – especially on the Portland-area blogs and mainstream media sites – but the notion that Clear Channel Media and Entertainment is flipping KPOJ to sports talk for political reasons and not because of business factors has no basis in reality. According to a piece in the local Willamette Week blog site, KPOJ’s recent 12-plus ratings were around a 1.0 share compared to some of its spoken-word competitors (news/talk KEX and KXL posted a 3.5 share and 5.0 share, respectively). TALKERS is not privy at this time to how well Clear Channel was able to sell KPOJ but it should surprise few in the business that sports content has never been hotter from a consumption standpoint and political talk – whether conservative or progressive – is, from a sales perspective, controversial and therefore a much tougher sell, probably even in a progressive market such as Portland. Local morning talk host Carl Wolfson was gracious in his public statement about the decision saying, in part, “I appreciate the opportunity they gave me for six years to be a voice for progressive causes in our state and nation. I will miss all of my fun friends at work (my excellent producer Paul, remains employed!). I love all of you, my loyal listeners. It has been my honor to give a platform to all of the outstanding groups, volunteers, elected officials and good people who make Oregon so special.” The station, considered one of the nation’s more successful progressive talk outlets for many years, also carried WYD Media’s Thom Hartmann, Premiere Networks’ Randi Rhodes and Mike Malloy.
Fox Sports Radio Takes Over in Portland. Beginning Today, KPOJ, Portland becomes “Fox Sports Radio 620” and carries the full lineup of Fox Sports Radio Network programming that includes “Fox Sports Daybreak,” “Loose Cannons,” Petros & Money, “Fox Sports Tonight” and JT The Brick plus other weekend programming. Clear Channel Portland has the rights to Portland Trailblazers basketball (which airs on sister KEX) and Oregon State Beavers sports and the “Beaver Nation Live” show will continue to air on KPOJ from 6:00 pm to 7:00 pm daily. Operations manager Chris Sargent states, “Combining our rich relationship with the Oregon State Beavers and Portland Trail Blazers, and now Fox Sports Radio, this is a win-win situation for us. We expect the new Fox Sports Radio 620 to serve the community with great access to sports information and entertainment, while setting the standard of sports excellence in Portland.”
Brian Wilson Exits WSPD, Toledo. News/talk pro Brian Wilson leaves Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s WSPD, Toledo where he’s been program director, news director and afternoon drive talk host for more than seven years. Wilson has long operated his Vacation Relief Services company and has been a host a such outlets as WABC, New York; KSFO, San Francisco; WRC, Washington; and WGST, Atlanta. Wilson says via his Facebook page: “I am glad to have had the opportunity to preach the gospel of freedom and liberty to Northwest Ohio. Wish I had the chance on the air to say thank you and goodbye to my listeners. I will continue to make every effort to spread the message of free markets and liberty.”
Cox Media Splits WDBO, Orlando Simulcast; AM 580 to Sports Talk. The AM/FM simulcast of news/talk on Cox Media’s WDBO, Orlando ends today as the station takes up the ESPN affiliation and begins airing ESPN Radio’s lineup of nationally syndicated programming including “Mike & Mike in the Morning,” “The Herd with Colin Cowherd,” and SVP & Russillo. The move adds another sports talk outlet to the market that already includes Clear Channel-owned WYGM “The Game” the Fox Sports Radio affiliate; Star Over Orlando’s WRSO the Yahoo! Sports affiliate; and Genesis Communications’ WHOO “Sports Talk Florida” the NBC Sports Radio affiliate. WDBO’s full program schedule should be known soon and it’s not clear at this point if the station will air any local sports talk.
Unlocking the Secrets of Twitter. One of the radio industry’s most respected digital consultants offers tips on maximizing the use of Twitter to drive listeners to the station and increase ratings. TALKERS columnist Chris Miller of Chris Miller Digital warns that Twitter is not Facebook‘s “little sister” and should not be treated that way. He says broadcasters can use Twitter to effectively enhance their radio brand by creating a “bulletin service” that promotes one element of upcoming programming and one element only; a “customer channel” that opens a link to a real, live customer serviceperson – a recording; and by creating “mico-targeting” initiatives which separates various factions of the total target audience for very specific aspects of the programming of primary interest to them. Read Chris Miller’s entire piece here.
WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast Sandy Relief Program. During his midday show today, Cumulus Media Networks’ talk show host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast live from a Salvation Army post on storm-ravaged Island Park on Long Island in order to raise funds for Hurricane Sandy relief. WABC states, “During the broadcast, singer and actress Katharine McPhee will interrupt filming the next season of her TV show ‘Smash’ to announce that she will match every donation dollar-for-dollar up to $50,000 through her charitable foundation, McPhee Outreach (for a total of $100,000).” McPhee says, “I was looking for the organization on the ground that was doing the most to help Hurricane Sandy victims and I found that to be the Salvation Army.” Rivera will be on the air from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm ET. He says, “There is no one who does more with less than the Salvation Army. I’m hoping that my listeners and sponsors will step up and match the McPhee Outreach’s grant to raise more than $100,000 to help people rebuild their lives in the wake of this weather disaster.”
LFM’s KKFN, Denver Re-Signs Clough. Late-morning talk host Sandy Clough re-ups with Lincoln Financial Media’s Denver sports talker KKFN. The terms of the deal were not announced and Clough’s extending his contract with the station comes shortly after the sports talk outlet re-upped fellow air talent Scott Hastings and Joel Klatt.
Aaron Matthews Named PD at WWSR, Lima, Ohio. Maverick Media fills the program director position at sports WWSR, Lima “93.1 The Fan” with market veteran Aaron Matthews. He takes over for Ryan Reker who exited Maverick’s Lima cluster to become program director at Federated Media’s WOWO-AM/FM, Ft. Wayne.
Opinion: Talk Radio’s Renaissance Requires Open-Minded Ownership. Talk host and programmer Tom Becka – currently heard on KRWK, Fargo and KOIL, Omaha – says that the post-election reflection on talk radio’s future reminds him of his days as a stand-up comic traveling the country and talking with people whose concerns went far beyond the political process in Washington, DC. “The truth is what is important to most talk show hosts is not important to most people on the street.” Becka says hosts must be broader in their approach and management has to be willing to change. Read his opinion piece here.
Canada’s CRTC Approves New English-Language Talk Station for Montreal. The new English-language talk formatted station won’t hit the airwaves in Montreal until late spring of 2013 but Canada’s broadcasting regulation agency – the Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission has approved the application for the new station. The company applying for the license is owned by three Montreal businessmen and the outlet will be the sister station to the French-language talk outlet that’s also been approved. The French station will operate at 940 AM – a signal that’s been dark in Montreal for two years. Currently, Montreal is served by Astral Media’s English-language talk outlet CJAD.
Mark Masters’ TRN Companies File Lawsuit against Dial Global Claiming Monopoly Practices. These companies, (usually referred to generally in the industry as Talk Radio Network (TRN), include The Original Talk Radio Network, Inc., Talk Radio Network Enterprises, LLC and Talk Radio Network-FM, Inc. They have initiated the filing of a Federal action against Dial Global, Inc. and multiple other parties, asserting anti-trust, anti-monopoly and other claims. In announcing that action, Mark Masters, CEO of the plaintiff companies, states, “This is a sad but necessary day for us. But the steps we take today are for the sake of the entire community of independent spoken word syndicators, and independent radio networks who depend on outside sale representation for their very financial survival. These independent producers, syndicators and networks serve America’s over 10,000 commercial radio stations, helping them save costs, and increase quality at a critical time to those stations’ survival in the current difficulties they face in navigating today’s national economic environment. Today, we reluctantly are forced to bring this action, as the largest group of independent spoken word syndicators/networks in the United States. In doing so, we hope this signals a beginning of the end to active monopoly and anti-competitive actions within radio’s independent spoken word syndication markets.” In the suit TRN lists a variety of marketplace operational grievances against Dial Global citing the recent demise of CNN Radio News as a prime example: “The plaintiff companies note in particular that the recent destruction of CNN Radio (which was on over 1,100 radio stations in the US and had been operating for over 20 years), going into a presidential election, in favor of its immediate replacement by a branded news operation, at the election of its sales representatives, is a telling example of the threat posed by the ability of a small handful of unelected Wall Street executives who have achieved sufficient dominance in one sales market to force changes in the separate independent spoken word market, and the threat posed to other independent spoken word syndicators absent prompt corrective actions.” Masters goes on to state, “The sudden death of CNN Radio News, after 20 years, and in a presidential election year besides, is a veritable canary in a coal mine for independent spoken word syndication in radio.” The idea to file this lawsuit has obviously been brewing in the mind of Mark Masters for some time now. Attendees at the recent industry gathering presented by TALKERSmagazine, “The New Media Seminar” in New York on June 7 might recall the TRN CEO hinting during his luncheon address about the possibility that his company might be taking unprecedented legal action against an alleged radio industry monopoly. Seems he meant it. TALKERS contacted Dial Global CEO David Landau who said, “No comment.”
Broadcasts and Interviews Abound as Talk Radio Shows Emanate from Tampa. The official activities at the Republican National Convention may have been put on hold for a day but the skies cleared and planned broadcasting activities went on pretty much unabated at the Tampa Bay Times Forum Convention Center where the RNC will officially resume today. Talk hosts, news professionals, celebrities and political commentators gathered and took advantage of the day to talk about the presidential race and all that goes with it. Pictured here is Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher (r) speaking with actor Jon Voight (l) who spoke with Gallagher on the record for his nationally syndicated program. Voight told Gallagher, “Much of the Hollywood community has ‘blood on our hands’ for taking leftist positions in the 60s and 70s.” He says he’s “atoning” for that by supporting Mitt Romney’s campaign for president. “He’s serious, he’s a problem solver and he’s been in public service all his life.” Meanwhile, XtreMedia president and nationally syndicated talk host Kevin McCullough (l) had the opportunity to chat with Minnesota Senator and former presidential candidate Michele Bachmann (r) on radio row inside the convention center at the Talk Radio News Service booth. Cumulus Media Networks syndicated talk host – and career journalist – Geraldo Rivera (r) meets up with news colleague Sam Donaldson of ABC News (l) at the news organization’s booth inside the convention center. Meanwhile, as Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast and moves straight towards New Orleans…
Gulf Coast Radio Stations Prepare to Keep Citizens Informed. The people of Louisiana and the rest of the Gulf Coast are understandably nervous. It has been seven years since Hurricane Katrina roared through this region making history and leaving an indelible mark on the lives of millions of people. During that natural disaster — and a number of others both before and since – good ol’ terrestrial radio has risen to the occasion, in many cases putting competitive barriers aside, and served the community. In preparation for the coming storm, Entercom’s WWL-FM/AM went into wall-to-wall coverage mode preparing its listeners with updates on the approaching storm’s direction and progress. The radio station’s website this morning looks like something you would expect to see from the Weather Channel. Guaranty Broadcasting Group reports to TALKERS it is all over the storm today with simulcasts on their various formats in the market that began at 5:30 am. Talk 107.3 FM began live simulcast coverage on Eagle 98.1’s 100,000 watt signal. Matt Kennedy and Brian Haldane are leading coverage with the Talk 107.3 FM morning show. Darren Gauthier and Scotty Drake will provide mid-day coverage. The husband and wife team of Bill and Karen Profita will anchor afternoon coverage. 104.5 ESPN’s Charles Hanagriff and Matt Moscona will take on coverage until midnight on the Talk 107.3/Eagle 98.1 simulcast. Bill and Karen Profita will return with the overnight shift beginning at midnight. The Talk 107.3 FM/Eagle 98.1 simulcast will continue throughout the hurricane as proves to be necessary. The simulcast will also feature live coverage from Guaranty’s TV partner WAFB Channel 9 with continuous updates from chief meteorologist Jay Grymes. Guaranty VP/market manager Gordy Rush tells TALKERS, “We are thrilled to bring unprecedented 24-hour live and local coverage to South Louisiana with the names and voices that carried this region through the likes of Katrina and Gustav.” (Image courtesy of NASA)
CBS Sports Radio Names Eric Spitz Director of Programming; Chris Oliviero to Supervise New Division. WFAN, New York program director Eric Spitz is named the director of programming for CBS’ new sports talk radio network and the company announces CBS Radio SVP of programming Chris Oliviero will take on a supervisory role in the new sports talk venture. Spitz is a longtime WFAN employee, beginning his tenure there as a desk assistant back in 1987 when the station first debuted. Spitz split from WFAN for a period in 2002 when he was named vice president, operations and programming for Westwood One’s Shadow/Metro Traffic but returned to WFAN in 2005. In a statement, Oliviero comments on the new management structure. “Eric has a unique skill set ideal for building a sports radio network as proven by his tremendous success at WFAN. Eric has been involved with the pioneering radio station since the beginning and watched the format grow from its infancy to what is now one of the most successful in the industry. His perspective is exactly what’s needed to launch a sports radio brand that can stand the test of time. And his selection for this critical position proves the value we are putting on leadership with a strong editorial track record in sports programming. We are also fortunate to be able to call on the expertise of Mark Chernoff, who is without a doubt the most successful sports radio program director of all time. Mark has been one of the principals helping to lay the foundation for CBS Sports Radio and his continued guidance will be a huge advantage as we craft programming we are confident will be of great interest to our affiliates around the country.” The 24/7 sports programming network will launch on January 2, 2013 with Cumulus Media Networks as syndicator and sales partner.
WRKO, Boston Promotes Bill Cooksey to Assistant PD. Morning show executive producer Bill Cooksey will keep his duties managing the production of the Todd Feinburg and Michele McPhee morning drive show at Entercom’s WRKO, Boston as he adds the assistant program director tag to his business card. Cooksey will effectively take over the day-to-day operations of WRKO with this promotion. WRKO PD Jason Wolfe says, “Bill has more passion for WRKO than anyone and has earned this promotion. He’s smart, aggressive, and a true leader. His efforts over the past several years have been outstanding and I’m really looking forward to working with him in this new capacity.” Cooksey started at WRKO in 2006 and became executive producer of the morning show in 2010. Of his promotion, Cooksey states, “I’m honored by this promotion and couldn’t be more excited about the future of WRKO. We’ve made several big changes in recent months and top to bottom WRKO is a stronger radio station today than ever before. WRKO has been home for me for the last six years. I am proud of what we accomplished and I look forward to building on those accomplishments in the future.”
Cincinnati Talk Host Eric Deters to Surface at Rock Trimulcast. Just days after leaving Christian Broadcasting System’s WQRT, Cincinnati due to clashes with management, talk host Eric Deters (who has also worked at Clear Channel’s WLW, Cincinnati subbing for Bill Cunningham and hosting his own weekend show) will take over the morning show at Class X – the classic rock trimulcast that’s heard on WMWX, Miamitown, Ohio; WKCX, Crittenden, Kentucky; and WYNS, Waynesville, Ohio. No official start date for Deters has been given.
Local Fan Wins Eagles Season Tix in Celebrity Call-In Contest on WPEN-AM/FM, Philadelphia. Kristin Lee of Willow Grove, Pennsylvania won Eagles season tickets in PM drive host Mike Missanelli’s Celebrity Call-In Contest in which listeners had to work their connections to urge a celebrity to call in to Missanelli’s program on 97.5 The Fanatic. Lee convinced P-Diddy to phone in and she was awarded the tickets on Friday, August 24. The impressive list of celebrities to call in during the contest included: actor Colin Quinn, actress Anne Hathaway, golfer Gary Player, model Cheryl Tiegs and musician Alicia Keys, to name a few.
Fox Sports Radio Develops Weekend Golf Show with Hank Haney. The program will air live from 8:00 am to 10:00 am ET beginning Saturday, September 8 and FSRN has nabbed SupremeGolf.com as the title sponsor for the show. Hank Haney – legendary golf instructor and author of a recent best-selling book – “will take listeners beyond the green to provide expert analysis on today’s players and events, talk with celebrities, insiders and golf fans, and provide insight on how to become a better golfer.” Senior vice president, sports programming for Premiere Networks, Don Martin, states, “We’re excited to give listeners the opportunity to interact with one of the best golf instructors in the world every weekend. Hank’s many years of experience and expertise in golf will provide our listeners with tremendous insight into the sport, and access to the best players on the course today.”
Republican National Convention, Tropical Storm Isaac and the Death of Neil Armstrong Were Among the Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (8/27). The Republican National Convention in Tampa Bay; the effect of Tropical Storm Isaac on the convention and its path toward New Orleans; and the death of legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
BREAKING NEWS: Clear Channel to Buy Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment and Buckley Radio announced today that Clear Channel is purchasing AM radio station WOR 710 from Buckley Broadcasting Corporation, pending FCC approval. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed. “WOR is an iconic New York City brand with a rich history and an exciting future,” states John Hogan, chairman and CEO of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment. “Clear Channel is excited to add WOR as a powerful, high potential complement to our New York brands. We believe WOR makes our already incredible platform even more interesting for listeners, advertisers, and strategic partners and we look forward to the tremendous potential WOR adds to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment New York.” Joseph Bilotta, president and CEO of Buckley Radio tells TALKERS, “For more than 23 years, Buckley Radio has been the steward of one of the most legendary radio stations in broadcasting history and I would like to sincerely thank all of the wonderful people who devoted their time, energy and efforts over the years to WOR Radio.” He continues, “By passing the baton to Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, WOR listeners, advertisers and employees will gain access to the unparalleled resources of a worldwide, multi-dimensional media and entertainment company. We have had a great run with WOR and could not be more confident that it is poised for another great run as part of the Clear Channel Media and Entertainment team.” Clear Channel Media and Entertainment currently owns five stations in the New York market including 103.5 KTU, Q104.3, Z100, 106.7 Lite fm and Power 105.1.
Speculation Abounds About the Implications of WOR/CC Deal. Information about this deal was kept even more closely guarded than Romney’s plans to select Ryan as his VP choice. Insiders at the station report that the airstaff had no idea what was going to be announced at an emergency staff meeting called on Friday afternoon for this morning at 9:00 am. Big news like this, however, travels fast once released in a small industry – the buzz being that Clear Channel has now gauranteed a number one market home for two of its major syndicated franchises, Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity – currently cleared on Cumulus Media’s WABC. All signs from Cumulus indicating its plan to take news/talk in a different direction lend credence to that speculation. Stay tuned.
Romney’s VP Selection of Paul Ryan on a Saturday Reminds Programmers: Are You Prepared to Cover Breaking News? How your news/talk station handles a breaking news event on any day of the week – either in your market or outside of it – often determines how the people in your market perceive your value as a source of news and even opinion. TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey reports programmers and hosts across the nation who are dedicated to being the source of news, information and hosting that community “backyard fence” have very similar approaches to covering events such as the recent tragedy in Aurora. It’s all about planning ahead, using the staff you have creatively and being that place where listeners can turn to talk when they need to vent. Read Kevin Casey’s piece here.
Cumulus Rolling Out Geraldo Nationally Today. After recent launches on its O&Os in New York (WABC) and Los Angeles (KABC), Cumulus Media’s syndication division goes national today with the Geraldo Rivera Show. Emanating from New York, the program, titled “Geraldo,” airs between 9:00 am and 12:00 noon ET. Cumulus is banking on Rivera’s middle ground political stance to further underscore its apparent course to modify what some consider news/talk radio’s predominantly conservative and confrontational style. This follows the company’s recent high-profile rollout of former Arkansas Governor/Republican Presidential candidate (and Fox News Channel host) Mike Huckabee’s “more conversational” brand of syndicated news/talk radio. Rivera will reportedly debut on 45 stations including KLIF, Dallas and WCFO, Atlanta with another half dozen expected in coming weeks. Rivera tells TALKERS, “I’m thrilled that just as the nation hurtles toward the highly charged and hard-fought 2012 presidential election, I’ll be coming on the air nationwide. Fasten your seat belts. With America divided along red/blue, right/left lines, I hope to occupy the militant middle and be a referee between ideologies. Everyone is welcome on the radio show, and the conversation is no holds barred.”
Rush Limbaugh Remains #1 on Top Talk Audiences Chart; Listening Dips Slightly in Spring 2012. Premiere Networks nationally syndicated star Rush Limbaugh keeps his long-held spot atop the TALKERS survey of the top talk radio hosts – based on audience data – for the spring 2012 period of March, April and May. Listenership to many news/talk stations and hosts dipped to a small degree during the period in question, although that conclusion cannot be construed to be one that applies to all news/talk stations across the board nor all hosts. The imperfect science of rating radio in and of itself provides caution to those wishing to come to concrete conclusions about the numbers. Reasons for the “spring dip” are being attributed by some media observers to be the result of “political burnout” as the frenzy of the presidential primary season passes, as well as the easing into the traditionally different mindset listeners get into as summer approaches and schedules begin to change. Regardless, news/talk stations typically enjoy a big bounce from presidential election years in the fall ratings periods illustrating the natural ebb and flow of talk radio listenership. To view the entire Top Talk Radio Audiences chart for the spring 2012 period, click here.
Michael Harrison Receives 2012 Ethical Media Award. TALKERS founder and publisher Michael Harrison was honored Friday (8/10) by the California Coast Venture Forum with its 2012 “Ethical Media Award” at the organization’s Fourth Annual Clean Business Investment Summit on the campus of the University of California at Santa Barbara. The award was presented to Harrison by Christie Communications CEO Gillian Christie who praised Harrison as displaying outstanding leadership in his 45 year career as a broadcaster and trade publisher in protecting and defending the principles of free speech in America. In accepting the award, Harrison told the audience of approximately 250 socially responsible entrepreneurs and investors from around California that the precious opportunity in America to start a business or invent a product that bucks the establishment is akin to the rights guaranteed to U.S. citizens by the First Amendment and should never be taken for granted.
KDKA-AM, Pittsburgh Debuts Weekend Car Show. Using in-house talent Vinnie Richichi and Rob Pratte, the CBS Radio news/talk station brings “Drivetime” to the air on KDKA-AM Saturday mornings at 7:00 am. Richichi (pictured here at right) is a midday personality on the company’s sports talk KDKA-FM – 93.7 The Fan – and Pratte ( at left) is a 30-year veteran of KDKA-AM where he’s a sports reporter and host of “Weekend Magazine.” The station states, “‘Drivetime’ will be a weekly mix of ‘guy next door’ car reviews, interviews with interesting and informative guests from the automotive world and interactive calls from listeners. Topics will range from selling a car, how to get the most out of your automotive experience and even include discussions on the best drive-in movies in Pennsylvania. Richichi and Pratte approach the show with humor and the passion both feel about their wheels.” Richichi has been reviewing cars for more than 25 years and produces a “Drivetime” radio feature that airs across America and Canada. He says, “It’s a show that gives people who are into cars a place to talk about what they love with two guys who get grease under their fingernails before every show.”
Sid Rosenberg Returns to Miami Airwaves Today. Trouble-prone (but extremely talented) sports talk show host Sid Rosenberg returns to the airwaves today as morning drive host on WMEN 640, Royal Palm Beach, Florida after losing his job at WQAM 560, Miami shortly after being hit with a DUI charge in April. According to a report in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, that was only his most recent bout with drugs, alcohol and gambling, addictions that had sent him to rehab twice and cost him at least five jobs, by his count. “I don’t blame them. I fired myself. I’m accountable,” said Rosenberg, whose April case is pending. He said he hasn’t had a drink in four months and has attended Alcoholics Anonymous meetings daily. He also attends Gamblers Anonymous meetings, going eight months since his last bet. (He lost $750 when Florida State didn’t cover the point spread in its 23-19 win over Miami on Nov. 12.) The report goes on to say that Rosenberg is “really trying” to be humble. That’s the first of AA’s 12 steps to a successful recovery.
Philadelphia Talk Host Dom Giordano Moderates Voter ID Law Panel. WPHT, Philadelphia midday talk host Dom Giordano served as the moderator during yesterday’s “Winning in 2012: Maximizing the Vote and Minimizing the Fraud” panel discussion of Pennsylvania’s Voter ID law sponsored by the Independence Hall Tea Party Association and held on Independence Mall. The program was headlined by American Spectator senior editor John Fund and included: political analyst and election law expert, Rich Zeoli; Linda Kerns, Esquire; a GOTV workshop conducted by Martin Gillespie, NE Regional Director of American Majority, and attorney Matt Rooney of SaveJersey.com.
Odds & Sods. Salem Radio Network morning drive host Bill Bennett has a special connection to newly-named Republican veep choice Rep. Paul Ryan. Chairman Ryan once worked for Bennett years ago when he and Jack Kemp created the Washington think tank Empower America…..According to a report by The Press of Atlantic City the recent shooting death of New Jersey talk show host April Kauffman has sparked a marked increase in applications for gun permits in the city of Linwood. Police there say the number of requests is on its way to doubling last year’s number – a trend they indicate has been prompted by the shooting. No arrests have been made in the case of 47-year-old Kauffman, a businesswoman and radio show host who was known widely as an advocate for military veterans.
Feliz Cumpleanos. ESPN Deportes Dallas (KZMP-AM) celebrates its fifth anniversary as the first ESPN O&O to take the ESPN Deportes Spanish-language sports format. To celebrate, the station broadcast live on August 9 from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm at Ojos Locos in Dallas. Pictured here are: Back Row — fifth from the left (blue shirt) Pete Dits, VP/general manager, ESPN Dallas; sixth from left Rafa Ramos, host of Deportes’ Raza Deportiva; seventh from left Tato Noriega, former Mexican National team player and ESPN Deportes TV personality. Front Row – fourth from left (black shirt) Jim Roberts, senior director/Deportes Local Radio Group and ESPN Deportes Dallas station manager.
There’s No Business Like Show Business. Salem Radio Network talk host Mike Gallagher spent this past weekend appearing onstage in Los Angeles. Gallagher, who—in addition to his daily SRN program and his duties as a regular contributor to the FOX News Channel—is a member of Actor’s Equity, was guest starring in the West Coast production of the Tony Award-winning “MEMPHIS: The Musical.” As he was leaving his dressing room backstage at the historic Pantages Theatre, who walked up to greet Gallagher but legendary director and funnyman Mel Brooks. Brooks essayed the role of backstage theatre critic and gave Gallagher’s performance a big thumbs-up.
Coming Tomorrow. Noted talk radio consultant Holland Cooke presents an informative and provocative piece exploring how you can tell a lot about a news/talk station from its weekend programming — or lack thereof.
Cumulus Q2 Revenue Dips; Major Market News/Talkers Singled Out. Cumulus Media’s revenue shot up more than 350% due to the inclusion of the former Citadel stations and the former Cumulus Media Partners properties it folded into its portfolio, but on a pro forma basis, revenue for the company was down 1.7%. During yesterday’s conference call, CEO Lew Dickey indicated 10 stations in the top 10 markets – many of them news/talk outlets were responsible for the company’s loss with three stations in particular accounting for $5.5 million of a $10 million revenue loss. He said if those stations had been kept out of the equation the company would have seen revenue go up 2%. Dickey promised the company is working on fixing those stations but cautioned it would take time – as much as four more quarters. If the ultimate goal is to get other companies’ syndication properties off those major market news/talkers – and those fees can be very high – and replace them with Cumulus Media Networks shows to, a) cut the cost of the programming to those stations and, b) reap a much greater percentage of revenue from those shows, expect to see some lineup changes at those major market news/talkers over the next 12 months.
Lew Dickey Stands Behind Mike Huckabee. Questions about the performance of former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee in syndication via Cumulus Media Networks were expected by analysts on yesterday’s conference call and when they were asked, Dickey strongly defended Huckabee – whose national program debuted in March – saying his team is doing an excellent job clearing the show and compares the venture to a “marathon.” Dickey also said the company intends to sign more talent in the near future. He told analysts that a lot of companies are locked in to current contracts with other syndicated programming so rolling out Huckabee (and Geraldo Rivera) will take time but, so far, he’s pleased with the results.
Herman Cain Takes to the Road on Fall “Truth Tour.” Former presidential candidate Herman Cain – and heir to the nationally syndicated Neal Boortz show when Neal hangs up his headphones in January – will take to the road beginning September 5 in Iowa City for what he’s calling “The Truth Tour.” It’s sponsored by Job Creators Solutions – an organization founded by Cain and Home Depot co-founder Bernie Marcus. The tour is billed as “an aggressive 30-day, 30-city schedule of events that aims to provide Americans with facts, information and resources to help them in their decision making process before hitting the polls in November.” Cain says, “Bernie Marcus and I both know first-hand how important it is to have the facts when making business decisions. We also know it’s just as important for Americans to have the facts when making decisions that will impact our communities, businesses and our nation. This is why I’m proud to join forces with Bernie for ‘The Truth Tour.’” Herman Cain will begin his nationally syndicated radio show on January 21, 2013 – Inauguration Day – and will be a regular guest on the Neal Boortz show on Mondays and Fridays at 10:35 am ET and is his primary fill-in host.
WSCR and WBBM, Chicago Host “Business of Sports: Life After the Game.” CBS Radio sports talk WSCR and all-news WBBM are hosting the Comcast Business Class Newsmakers “Business of Sports: Life after the Game” panel sponsored by MB Financial on Thursday, September 20, at the House of Blues in downtown Chicago. CBS Radio says the event will consist of the biggest names in Chicago sports, discussing their success in the business world after playing. Panelists will include: multi-sport star Bo Jackson, Chicago football great Gary Fencik, and “Miracle on Ice” star and former professional hockey player, Jack O’Callahan with more to be added. The event will be hosted by 670 The Score’s morning drive team Mike Mulligan and Brian Hanley (pictured here). WSCR program director Mitch Rosen says, “We are looking forward to hosting what will be an all-star event. I think the Chicagoland consumer, specifically people interested in sports business, will enjoy the all-star panel we have put together. With Bo Jackson headlining this event, it will be a great opportunity to hear his business ideas and philosophies. Bo is one of the greatest stories in the sports industry and has numerous accomplishments as a two-sport professional athlete. For sports fans and business people alike, this will be a can’t-miss event.”
Media Matters Gets into the Talk Radio Game. The anti-conservative media organization Media Matters for America is hitching its wagon to a new talk show on the SiriusXM Left channel called “The Agenda Powered by Media Matters.” The daily show is being hosted by Media Matters senior advisor and Fox News critic Ari Rabin-Havt and debuts Monday, August 13 from 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight ET. SiriusXM promotes the show saying, “Ari Rabin-Havt will lead the daily conversation of young influential progressive political insiders reviewing the day’s events and setting the tone for the next days’ news cycle. ‘The Agenda Powered by Media Matters’ will be a first-of-its-kind on-air meeting place where the new influencers of the progressive movement discuss the news of tomorrow in an informal setting that looks to inform, entertain, and engage.”
WBRP, Baton Rouge Names Clarence Buggs Midday Host. Guaranty Broadcasting’s WBRP, Baton Rouge adds talk show host Clarence Buggs to the lineup as host of the 11:00 am to 1:00 pm program. Buggs had worked in the market at Clear Channel’s crosstown WJBO. Guaranty market manager Gordy Rush states, “We are thrilled about the addition of Clarence to our team. We remain committed to being the news/talk leader in the Baton Rouge community with more live and local shows on Talk 107.3 FM than any other station in the greater Baton Rouge market.”
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. WAYY, Eau Claire, Wisconsin adds the third hour of WYD Media’s Michael Smerconish show…..WYM Media’s “Ring of Fire” with Mike Papantonio and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. is added to the program schedule at WWRL, New York and WKKX, Wheeling…..“Free Talk Live” featuring Ian Freeman and Mark Edge is added to the program schedule at WNRI, Woonsocket, Rhode Island and KBJT, Fordyce, Arkansas…..WVKO, Columbus, Ohio adds the “Best of Bill Press” to its weekend schedule…..The “Motley Fool Money” show with Chris Hill adds WKBK-AM/FM, Keene, New Hampshire…..“The Money Pit Home Improvement Show” is picked up by: WRHL, Rochelle, Illinois; WFHR, Wisconsin Rapids, Wisconsin; WKUL, Cullman, Alabama; and WDIS, Norfolk, Massachusetts.
Presidential Campaign Ads Controversy Top News/Talk Story for Week of August 6-10. The most-talked-about story on news/talk radio this week broke out from last week’s general discussion about the presidential campaign and the specific story of the controversial ads being run by organizations backing President Obama was the top story this week on the Talkers TenTM. At #2 was the tepid economic data. Following at #3 was neo-Nazi hate groups and the aftermath of the Sikh temple killings. Coming in at #4 was the London Olympics. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio during the week, according to ongoing research from TALKERS and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. View this week’s entire chart here.
Right and Left Come Together at the TALKERS New Media Seminar to Denounce the Practice of Organized Advertiser Boycotts. They might not agree on many things but a love for the business of talk broadcasting and its role as a vehicle for the practice of the First Amendment can indeed make for strange political bedfellows. In a rare display of unity, two of the highest-
profile and distinctly politically opposite talk show hosts in the business condemned the increased practice of organized advertiser boycotts by political organizations as a means of shutting down voices on radio and television with which they disagree.
Conservative host Sean Hannity (Fox News Channel and Premiere Networks) and progressive host Ed Schultz (MSNBC and the independently syndicated Ed Schultz show) delivered their powerful remarks at the TALKERS New Media Seminar in New York City on Thursday, June 7. Hannity included the statement as part of his keynote address which opened the conference. Schultz presented his opinion while delivering the event’s “Annual State of the First Amendment Address.” During his presentation at the non-partisan, industry-wide gathering, Hannity played excerpts from a variety of well-known talk show hosts making controversial statements on the air that subsequently resulted in calls for advertiser boycotts and/or the firing of the hosts. The clips included hosts from all over the spectrum – left, right and popular culture (still referred to by many as “shock jocks”) – with ear-perking clips from Don Imus, Howard Stern, Opie & Anthony, Mike Malloy and more. Both Rush Limbaugh’s reference to Sandra Fluke and Ed Schultz’s description of Laura Ingraham as “sluts” were included to underscore the point that no single faction of the talk radio universe was exempt from participating in the practice of political or artistic controversy. Hannity’s remedy: Change the dial. Schultz concurred. Both made their cases for the sake and survival of the talk radio industry as well as protecting the spirit of the First Amendment. Stay tuned to Talkers.com for complete coverage of the New Media Seminar in the coming days and weeks.
Cumulus Media Officially Announces Geraldo Rivera Rollout. This has been expected since shortly after Geraldo Rivera made his talk radio debut on Cumulus Media‘s WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles in the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon slot. Now, Cumulus says it will expand the show to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET time slot and begin a national rollout on August 13. In a statement, Cumulus Media COO John Dickey says, “When Geraldo agreed to host shows for Cumulus stations in New York and L.A. we had a hunch there’d be substantial national listener interest in his incisive and insightful style. And now we’re thrilled that with Geraldo such a success in those two markets, the show will be available across the country.”
Glenn Beck Renews with Premiere Networks for 5 Years and a Reported $20 Million per Year. That figure is according to The New York Times‘ Brian Stelter who cites a “person with direct knowledge” saying the deal will pay Glenn Beck $100 million over the course of the new, five-year deal. In addition to handling affiliate and ad sales for Beck’s 9:00 am to 12:00 noon ET nationally syndicated radio show, Premiere Networks also assists in ad sales for some of Beck’s non-radio efforts including his internet video channel GBTV on which his daily afternoon talk show is broadcast.
NBC Partners with Dial Global for Syndication of Sports Radio Content as NBC Sports Radio Network. According to what Rob Simmelkjaer, senior vice president of NBC Sports Ventures and International tells USA Today, the new project will start with hourly sports updates and a couple of short-form features. But Simmelkjaer says NBC hopes to have two three-hour evening sports talk shows (one each for 7:00 pm and 10:00 pm ET starts) ready for syndication by fall. He says, “The goal is to start with a beachhead of programming and gradually expand to 24 hours per day, seven days per week maybe in 3 to 5 years.” Dial Global will handle affiliate and ad sales for the service and Simmelkjaer says it will be sold in tandem with Dial Global’s NFL radio broadcasts.
Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire Surface at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte. Talk show hosts Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire had most recently hosted the morning drive show on Curtis Media Group‘s WZTK-FM, Burlington, North Carolina before the station flipped formats to Spanish music earlier this year. Now, the duo will replace Vince Coakley in the PM drive slot beginning July 2. In June of last year, Coakley took over the afternoon show for Tara Servatius who currently hosts mornings on WRNN-AM/FM, Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. WBT program director Carl East says, “These guys bring a great sense of energy and fun to the air. Those who have been in Charlotte for a while already know what Brad is capable of. They are very clever observers of the issues of the day, whether they are local or national. The audience is going to love engaging them.” Brad Krantz previously hosted afternoons at WBT alongside Richard Spires for four years from 1999 to 2003.
KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas Names Chuck Meyer News Director. CBS Radio‘s news/talk KXNT-AM/FM, Las Vegas brings news pro Chuck Meyer aboard as news/director and anchor for the station’s PM drive news block. Meyer previously served as news director at WIOD, Miami and KING, Seattle and as program director at KVET, Austin and KCUB, Tucson. KXNT-AM/FM program director Andrew Paul says, “Chuck brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to our staff. We are thrilled to have him lead our news team on multiple platforms.” The move allows former news director Joe Gillespie to focus on his duties as host of the station’s morning drive news program.
Jay Cutler to Join WMVP, Chicago for Weekly Appearance. ESPN Chicago announces Chicago Bears quarterback Jay Cutler will be live in the studio with ESPN 1000′s Tom Waddle and Marc Silverman each Monday from 12:00 noon to 1:00 pm. In announcing the multi-year deal, ESPN 1000 president and general manager John Craven states, “ESPN Chicago could not be more excited to welcome Jay Cutler to our already solid on-air lineup. Waddle & Silvy’s extended access to Jay will give Bears fans his insights into the game and a glimpse of his personality they have never heard before both on air and online.” ESPN has sold the show to Miller Lite, the official beer of the Chicago Bears.
Talk Host Michael Smerconish to Welcome NAB Crystal Radio Award Winners Tonight. Nationally syndicated WYD Media talk host Michael Smerconish will use the “magic” of technology to gather together all 10 NAB Crystal Radio Award winners at the NAB Education Foundation’s “Service to America” black-tie fundraiser taking place at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, DC this evening. Smerconish will welcome the winners to the stage and acknowledge their accomplishments.
The End of an Era as NPR’s “Car Talk” Hosts Retire in September. Hosts of the ubiquitous weekend public radio show “Car Talk” on NPR – brothers Tom and Ray Magliozzi – will retire in September and record no more calls from Americans with questions usually having to do with their cars. But the show will go on for at least a few more years. NPR will continue to produce the show with previously aired audio from the show’s dense library of content. TALKERS magazine spoke with “Car Talk” producer Doug Berman several years ago for a feature story about the production of weekend talk programs. Unlike many shows, car talk is not a “live” call-in show. Calls are recorded during the week or callers are asked to call in at specific production times. As a result, the show has probably gathered more content than necessary at times and, in addition to “repurposed” content, there may be some calls to “Car Talk” that have not seen the light of day. Also, Berman tells the Boston Herald that they’ve reviewed the ratings for new shows and repeats and have found no difference. TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison was asked about the future success of “Car Talk” by the Los Angeles Times and he stated, “Not many shows that are maintenance, how-to shows can carry it off where people listen to be entertained. That makes the show extremely potent.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cox Media Group‘s WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta nabs 11 from the Georgia Association of Broadcasters. Among the accolades WSB picked up include “Station of the Year” large market and “Best Radio Program” and “Best Talk Host” honors for WSB-based nationally syndicated star Neal Boortz…..Beasley Broadcasting‘s news/talk WGAC, Augusta, Georgia wins the Georgia Association of Broadcasters “Radio Station of the Year” award in the mid-sized market category. The station’s personalities also were individually recognized with coveted “Gabby” Awards: News director and morning show host Mary Liz Nolan won “Best Newscast; sports director Ashley Brown won “Best Sportscast” and “Best Sports Story or Series” and Dallas Reece was honored for the year’s “Best Commercial.”…..WBZ, Boston news anchor Joe Mathieu interviews “CBS Evening News” anchor and managing editor Scott Pelley at the WBZ NewsRadio Business Breakfast about his first year as anchor of CBS’ evening news program Tuesday, June 12 at 8:00 am…..Fox Sports Radio continues its coverage of mixed martial arts with simulcasts of FX‘s “UFC on FX: Fight Night.” FSRN simulcast last Friday’s program and will do it again on June 22 at 9:00 pm ET with a two-hour post-fight call-in show beginning at 11:00 pm ET.
You’re Never Too Old…to Play Pro Football. That’s 50-year-old Stan Nawalaniec of the Stan & Haney PM drive show on Beasley Broadcasting‘s hot talk WRXK-FM, Bonita Springs, Florida – 96 K-Rock Talk That Rocks – suited up with two unidentified players on the United Indoor Football League‘s Florida Tarpons. Stan signed on for a one-game deal with the undefeated team and was a member for its last regular season game Saturday, June 9 played at Southwest Florida’s Germain Arena in Estero.
TALKERS TV: WTOP Reporter Does All Field Reports on iPhone or iPad. Things have changed, at least technologically, since WTOP, Washington reporter Neal Augenstein joined the heritage all-news outlet in 1999. The newsroom was still equipped with reel-to-reel tape recorders and the portable bag phones that weighed as much as 15 pounds. Since 2010, Neal has earned the distinction of being the first major market radio reporter who does all of his field production on an iPhone or iPad. This week TALKERS TV presents the final installment of an exclusive three-part feature on the inner workings of all-news giant WTOP with an interview with Neal Augenstein in which he explains the theory behind and the method of using Apple’s smart phone as an extremely innovative and convenient tool for gathering, producing and presenting news in a multimedia venue. See TALKERS TV at the top of the column on the upper right side of this page.
New Media Seminar New York Nears Sellout – Features Power-Packed Agenda. Thursday, June 7 promises to be an important and exciting day for talk radio and related talk media as the East Coast installment of the industry’s largest and longest-running convention nears a sellout. More than 60 industry leaders are scheduled to speak including (in alphabetical order): Nancy Abramson, executive director, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Chuck Armstrong, APD, WABC, New York; Mike “Bax” Baxendale, co-host, “Bax and O’Brien” morning show, Rock 102, Springfield, MA; Rennie Bishop, PD WWRL, New York; Jim Bohannon, host, Dial Global Radio Networks; Phil Boyce, VP/director, spoken word format, Salem Communications; Dr. Joy Browne, host, WOR Radio; Laurie Cantillo, PD, WTOP, Washington, DC; Kevin Casey, VP/managing editor, TALKERS; Michael Castner, host, Wall Street Journal Radio Network; Heather Cohen, EVP, The Weiss Agency; Alan Colmes, Fox News Radio/Fox News Channel; Holland Cooke, consultant, McVay/Cook Media; Andy Dean, host Premiere Networks; Dave Elswick, PD, KARN, Little Rock; Boomer Esiason, host, WFAN, New York; Barry Farber, host, Talk Radio Network/CRN Digital Talk Radio; Jim Farley, VP news and programming, WTOP, Washington, DC; Terry Foxx, PD, KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh; Ian Freeman, co-host, Free Talk Live; Mike Gallagher, host, Salem Radio Network; Dom Giordano, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Steve Goldstein, EVP, Saga Communications; Heidi Harris, host, KRLA, Los Angeles/KTIE, San Bernadino; Matthew B. Harrison, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; Michael Harrison, publisher, TALKERS; Ron Hartenbaum, president, WYD Media; Thom Hartmann, host, WYD Media; Bill Hess, PD, WMAL, Washington, DC; Gabe Hobbs, president, Gabe Hobbs Media; Jim Horn, PD, WSBA, York; Gov. Mike Huckabee, host, Cumulus Media/Fox News Channel; Rusty Humphries, host Talk Radio Network/WGST, Atlanta; Kraig Kitchin, CEO, Sound Mind, LLC; Tom Langmyer, VP/GM, WGN, Chicago; Tom Leykis, president, The New Normal; Lionel, president, LionelMedia.com; Mark Masters, CEO, Talk Radio Network; Mike McVay, SVP programming, Cumulus Media; Harvey Nagler, VP Radio, CBS News; Chris Oliviero, SVP programming, CBS Radio; Cary Pahigian, market manager, Saga Communications/Portland; John Parikhal, president, Joint Communications; Ellen Ratner, bureau chief, Talk Radio News Service; Mark Riley, host, WWRL, New York; Walter Sabo, president, Sabo Media; Todd Schnitt, host, Compass Media Networks; Ed Schultz, host, MSNBC/The Ed Schultz Show; Doug Stephan, president, Stephan Multimedia; Chris Stigall, host, WPHT, Philadelphia; Alan Stock, host, KDWN, Las Vegas; Peter Thiele, PD, WMCA/WNYM, New York; Joe Thomas, PD, WCHV, Charlottesville; Paul Vandenburg, president/GM, WGDJ, Albany; Steven J.J. Weisman, senior partner, Harrison Strategies; and Larry Young, host, WOLB, Baltimore; with more to be announced. A full agenda will be posted here tomorrow. Also, today is the final day that discount rooms for seminar attendees at the nearby Doubletree will be available. For registration and hotel information call 413-565-5413.
Sabo Sez: If Every Station Was a Talk Station… “Imagine if every radio station, except one, in every city was programmed fulltime as a talk station. How would those talk stations differentiate themselves to the listener? They couldn’t all take the same approach, they would have to appeal to different demos and psychographics,” says Sabo Media president Walter Sabo. In his latest column for TALKERS, Sabo says that’s why spoken-word radio must be differentiated and targeted just as music-based radio is and therein lays the key to making a profit from an FM talk station. Read Walter Sabo’s piece here.
Geraldo Rivera to Broadcast from WABC, New York-Sponsored Job Fair. Cumulus Media news/talk WABC, New York and sister Hot AC WPLJ-FM are sponsoring the “Putting America Back to Work” job fair being held tomorrow (5/15) at the Jacob Javits Center and WABC and KABC, Los Angeles talk host Geraldo Rivera will broadcast his 10:00 am to 12:00 noon program live from the event. Part of the broadcast will feature a panel of experts and CEOs discussing practical advice and tips for job seekers. Cumulus New York states there will also be some 100 job recruiters from a wide range of industries with positions available on the scene.
KFWB, Los Angeles Re-Ups with NBA’s Clippers. The NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers and news/talk KFWB, Los Angeles sign a multi-year extension to keep the franchise’s games on the station. Details of the terms are not being disclosed per team and station policy. Station general manager Valerie K. Blackburn states, “We are so happy to forge forward with our relationship with the Clippers who have captured the hearts of Southern Californians and fans across the country. The Los Angeles Clippers have emerged as a fan favorite in this town and are an extremely important part of our ongoing commitment to provide quality programming to our listeners.” KFWB is operated by the KFWB Asset Trust and the KFWB License Trust, divestiture trusts under the management of Diane Sutter, president and CEO of ShootingStar Broadcasting.
Cumulus Media Signs With Triton Digital for Its Online Platform. The country’s second largest radio station operator (measured by station count) will move the online platform of its more than 530 radio stations to the Triton Digital platform, according to a story in Radio Ink. Cumulus Media CEO Lew Dickey states the company’s stations will be able to take advantage of the services provided by Triton Digital as well as providing a standard platform which will enable the transition to putting all of the company’s stations on iHeartRadio as announced several months ago. It is expected the Cumulus stations will be available on Clear Channel Media and Entertainment’s iHeartRadio within the next 45 to 60 days.
Greater Media Charlotte Names Billy Black Imaging Director. News/talk WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte and talk intensive sister Hot AC WLNK-FM have hired imaging pro Billy Black to serve as the imaging director for the stations. For the past 10 years Black has worked at Clear Channel’s rock WRXR-FM, Chattanooga where he served as morning show host, program director and imaging director. Greater Media Charlotte marketing administrator Jessica Reeves RoBards says, “He has imaged a ton of Clear Channel stations and made work parts and shells from scratch for companies like Frost Bytes. This is unique because most imaging guys use pre-made beds and work parts, he makes his own. He also had a stint at Media Base. He will image both stations. His ideas and creativity are something these stations have been craving.”
Odds ‘n’ Sods. Cumulus Media nabs market manager Kevin Waltman from Clear Channel’s Tallahassee operations that include news/talk WFLA-FM. Waltman heads up Cumulus’ Montgomery, Alabama cluster that includes news/talk WLWI and sports talk WMSP…..Forever Broadcasting is picking up a stronger signal for its “TJ Network” news/talk format based at WTJS, Jackson Tennessee. It will swap with Grace Broadcasting Services giving Grace its WTJW-FM, Humboldt, Tennessee at 105.3 plus $525,000 and get WTGP-FM, Trenton, Tennessee at 97.7…..SiriusXM names National Soccer Hall of Famer John Harkes host of its daily soccer talk show “The Football Show” that airs from 7:00 am to 9:00 am. Harkes will be joined on the show by co-hosts Charlie Stillitano and Neil Barnett.
Cumulus Reports Net Revenue Down 5.6% in Fourth Quarter of 2011; Company High on Geraldo and Huckabee. Cumulus Media Group CEO Lew Dickey and chief financial officer J.P. Hannan appeared together on yesterday’s conference call to tell analysts the company’s plans for consolidating the former Cumulus Media Partners (former Susquehanna stations) it brought into the fold in August and the former Citadel stations it closed on in September are coming together allowing them to realize the “synergies” — $10.5 million worth — within the time frame originally predicted. As far as revenue is concerned, the company saw revenue down only 1% if you exclude political advertising from Q4 one year prior. Dickey told analysts there was growth in the automotive, financial services and retail sectors in Q4 and he – like many – expects this to be a big year for political dollars. Dickey addressed the coming launch of the Mike Huckabee program and stopped short of saying Cumulus could capitalize on Rush Limbaugh’s current PR challenge but told analysts his company sees a real upside for the April launch of Huckabee’s program for which it says it has about 110 affiliates lined up already. Dickey also said that Geraldo Rivera – currently heard on WABC, New York and KABC, Los Angeles only – is ripe for national syndication and calls the New York and Los Angeles placement a “precursor” to a national rollout.
Rush Limbaugh Takes Monday Off; Premiere Networks Suspends Airing of Barter Spots for Two Weeks. Things are quieting down with regard to the Rush Limbaugh-Sandra Fluke controversy but El Rushbo took yesterday (3/12) off to play golf with regular fill-in Mark Steyn sitting in the host’s chair. Public relations and crisis management expert Brian Glicklich is working with Limbaugh’s team and it sounds as though the day off was probably his idea. At the same time, Premiere Networks issued a memo to traffic departments at news/talk affiliates and is suspending the requirement that stations run barter spots – the ones that air in addition to the network spots actually contained within Limbaugh’s and other Premiere shows – for this week and next. Premiere gives no reason for this but one could surmise it doesn’t want to have any clients’ spots air within “controversial programming” and a cool down period like this will allow it to get a handle on where these spots are to air and where they should not.
Curtis Media Blows Up “FM Talk 101.1” WZTK-FM; Programming Changes Affect WPTF, Raleigh and WSJS, Winston-Salem. Curtis Media shocks the news/talk world with the sudden announcement that eight-year-old FM talker WZTK-FM, Burlington – serving both the Triad and Triangle markets of North Carolina is signing off its talk format and will re-emerge within a few weeks. But some of the talent heard on WZTK-FM is being spread out among Curtis Media’s other news talkers in the Raleigh-Durham and Winston-Salem/High Point/Greensboro markets. Here’s what’s happening: First, in the Triangle market of Raleigh-Durham, Curtis drops country on WKIX at 850 AM and will operate two outlets – NewsRadio 680 WPTF and TalkRadio 850 WPTF. WPTF VP/GM David Stuckey states, “NewsRadio 680 WPTF is where people will hear about the big events of the day, while TalkRadio 850 WPTF is where they’ll talk about those stories.” Stuckey says that while WPTF has proudly conservative roots dating back to 1924, the two stations will strive for balanced news coverage and an open exchange of all opinions across the ideological spectrum. “Unlike some media outlets, we’re not going to force-feed the same political agenda ad nauseum. We’ve seen ratings slippage on stations and channels with a hard-leaning approach, and more advertisers are telling us they want media platforms that are less toxic and more civil.” As far as talent is concerned, Brad Krantz and Britt Whitmire survive the cut at WZTK-FM and will host PM drive on WPTF and WSJS. Dial Global’s Neal Boortz and Clark Howard are also landing on WPTF and WSJS. Shows that “didn’t make the cut” include local host Allan Handelman, TRN’s Michael Savage and Phil Hendrie and Fox News Radio’s Alan Colmes.
Larry King to Host Show on Internet TV Network. American television and radio icon Larry King is returning to the interview desk with a start-up online TV network called Ora.TV being financed by Mexican media mogul Carlos Slim. A debut date for the site has not been announced yet but the Ora.TV website says it’s coming this year. The site states, “From its inception, Ora is an internet-based on-demand network producing a wide range of programs that transcend traditional formats. Our programs will resemble broadcast TV in terms of quality, but viewers will watch when and where they like with interactive capability.” Former News Corp. president of digital journalism Jon Housman will lead the network.
Journal Broadcasting’s WTMJ, Milwaukee Holds “Insight 2012” with Major Political Guests. The annual “Insight 2012” program hosted by WTMJ, Milwaukee talk host Charlie Sykes has become a must-listen for Wisconsin political aficionados the morning after it takes place. The actual event is a ticket-holder-only live event the night prior – in this year’s case, last night. Sykes hosted fellow WTMJ host Jeff Wagner and other journalists plus Wisconsin State Senate candidates Jeff Fitzgerald, Tommy Thompson, Mark Neumann and Eric Hovde. Also appearing were U.S. Representatives Paul Ryan, Reid Ribble and Sean Duffy along with Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Last evening’s event is being re-broadcast this morning from 8:30 am to 12:00 noon on WTMJ.
Tribune’s WGN, Chicago Signs on with TuneIn. The “Voice of Chicago” can now be heard around the world via the free, internet service TuneIn, which boasts 30 million monthly active listeners. TuneIn vice president of programming Kevin Straley says, “WGN is known all over the country and has a rich history in Chicago. Our goal is to share all of the best programming from around the world with over 30 million monthly listeners, and partnering with WGN brings us one step closer to that goal.”
KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh Announces Pirates Broadcast Talent. CBS Radio’s KDKA-FM, Pittsburgh announces former Chicago Cubs third baseman Kevin Orie will be paired with radio host Dan Zangrilli to handle the game-day shows before and after each Pirates baseball game throughout the season. The two will host a one-hour preview program and a one-hour post-game show. Pirates broadcasters (Greg Brown, Tim Neverett, Steve Blass, Bob Walk, and John Wehner) will continue to be featured during the pre- and post-game shows, as well as calling all the action during the games.
Report: 3MTR Abandons Talk Format in Melbourne. TALKERS Australia bureau chief Trevor Smith reports on the demise of talkback radio 3MTR in Melbourne. Smith notes the station had been having financial difficulties for months and was unable to compete with Melbourne’s talk 3AW. Read more here.
Afghan Civilian Massacre, 2012 Presidential Race, HBO Palin Movie, Rush Limbaugh Controversy and Iran Nukes Issue Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (3/12). The case of a U.S. Army sergeant who killed 16 civilians in Afghanistan; the GOP candidates’ battle to win the nomination to face President Obama in November; HBO’s “Game Change” film about Sarah Palin and the 2008 presidential race; the ongoing controversy surrounding Rush Limbaugh; and the Iran nuclear weapons issue were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Phil Hendrie Walks the Red Carpet. Sure, he’s not wearing a glitzy, designer gown but he is walking on a red carpet! That’s Talk Radio Network personality Phil Hendrie at the Los Angeles Animation Festival on Saturday, March, 10. Hendrie – whose voice appears in numerous animated films and TV programs – was a cast member in Trey Parker’s and Matt Stone’s “Team America” film. Hendrie states, “I was happy to be involved in any way that I could, because that was a great work experience for me…Every time that it’s mentioned that I was in ‘Team America,’ people instantaneously recognize it. They know the voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E., they know the voice of the terrorist, they know the film, so it’s like my instant credibility button.”
Herman Cain Returns to WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – in Commentator Role. Former Godfather’s Pizza CEO and recent GOP presidential candidate Herman Cain returns to Cox Media Group’s news/talk giant WSB-AM/FM, Atlanta – the station at which he was hosting the evening program before leaving to run for office. Cain isn’t back on evenings. Program director Pete Spriggs tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution Cain’s busy schedule won’t allow him to return to that slot. Instead, Cain is filing a daily two-minute commentary that airs twice daily – 8:45 am during Neal Boortz’s show and at 6:45 pm during Erick Erickson’s program. He’ll also join Boortz live at 10:35 am every Monday and Friday. Although it is clear that Cain is still heavily involved in the thick of this year’s presidential race as an event speaker and potential campaigner, his significantly heightened status as a political media celebrity in the aftermath of his formidable candidacy increases his stock as a potential radio and television talk show host. Industry speculation grows about his next moves as a media personality after the dust of the election settles.
Geraldo to Do Local Show on KABC, Los Angeles. Since it was announced that Geraldo Rivera was taking over the late-morning show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York there’s been speculation that he would also be imported west to the company’s KABC, Los Angeles. Now Geraldo tells the Los Angeles Times’ Steve Carney that not only will he be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on KABC beginning January 30, but he’ll be doing a separate, live show for Southern California. Geraldo tells Carney that he represents the larger middle portion of America that isn’t necessarily being heard from on talk radio today, “That agenda is extremely partisan. It’s carving up the country, it has a strong racial undertone, and I don’t think that’s good for anybody.” As a result of the move, KABC’s John Phillips’ program will be heard from 9:00 am to 10:00 am.
Merlin Media-CBS Radio Update. The all-news war in New York is making the consumer press as the New York Daily News’ John Hinckley writes about the cease-and-desist Merlin Media received from CBS Radio lawyers for using a version of the famous WINS, New York slogan “Give us 22 minutes; we’ll give you the world” to promote its all-news “FM News 101.9 (WEMP-FM). As we reported yesterday, Merlin has been engaging in a bit of old-fashioned radio battle strategy by twisting the WINS slogan to “Give us 10 minutes, we’ll give you the world” for WEMP-FM. Lawyers for CBS say the tactic has no purpose but to get publicity and say it’s trademark infringement. That’s one way of looking at it. Though the strategy could be derided by some as an old-school radio technique that won’t work in the modern era, others will argue that Merlin’s point is a good one; it underscores the perception that most people don’t have 22 minutes these days and FM News 101.9 is current and hip by doing it in 10 minutes. Merlin certainly has an uphill battle ahead of it in terms of catching the New York all-newsers in the ratings. It’s possible that in order to grab some of the audience share of the news-consuming public, Merlin is going to have to get attention by doing more than just putting out a good product. Another way of looking at it, however, is that if Merlin put out a good product, the Randy Michaels-led company wouldn’t have to resort to the kind of competitive stunting popularized during the heyday of top 40 in the 1960s and 1970s.
Todd Schnitt to End MJ Kelli AM Show; Focus on Talk Show. For years now, Todd Schnitt has been doing double duty – morning drive on Clear Channel’s CHR WFLZ-FM, Tampa and PM drive on CC’s WFLA from which he’s syndicated nationally by Compass Media Networks. Now he will focus on the talk show aspect of his career as he shuts down his MJ Kelli morning show persona with his last broadcast on WFLZ-FM on February 17.
Clear Channel Promotes Two Executives. Clear Channel Media and Entertainment bumps Hartley Adkins from his SVP of operations for the Southeast market to executive vice president of operations for its Mid-Major markets. Taking over for Adkins in the SVP of operations for the Southeast market is John Rohm who moves up from the market manager post for the Philadelphia market. Although not mentioned in the press release, Adkins takes over for Mark Kopelman who exits the company with no comment from corporate. Both Adkins and Rohm will report to John Hogan who states, “With their proven performance, leadership and exerience, Hartley and John will help ensure our local markets operate effectively and efficiently and provide our company with real opportunities for growth.” Additionally, Brad Hardin, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Adkins in the Mid-Major markets; and Jon Zellner, senior vice president of programming, now serves as programming partner to Tom McConnell, senior vice president of operations for the Northeast regional markets.
WWNC, Asheville Names Pete Kaliner PM Drive Host. The former WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte evening host lands the afternoon drive program at Clear Channel’s Asheville, North Carolina news/talk outlet. Pete Kaliner hosted the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show at WBT for two years until the show was eliminated for budgetary reasons in March of last year. WWNC program director Brian Hall says, “Pete filled in for us last summer and I was blown away by his dedication to show prep and how the listeners engaged with him on the air. After talking with great candidates from all over the country and other professionals in the industry, it was clear that Pete was the perfect fit for this position and for the community of Western North Carolina.”
Former Florida Radio and TV Financial Host Gets Four Years in Prison for Defrauding Investors. U.S. District Judge Daniel T.K. Hurley sentenced Anthony F. Cutaia to 51 months in prison for running a ponzi scheme in which he misappropriated some $1.5 million that affected between 10 and 50 investors (court documents don’t specify the number of victims). Cutaia operated a commercial real estate business and hosted a program on Beasley Broadcasting’s WSBR, Boca Raton as well as a television show on the PAX TV network. Cutaia was charged with nine counts of mail fraud in June of 2011 and pleaded guilty to one charge in hopes of getting a lighter sentence but the judge gave him a longer sentence than federal prosecutors recommended.
South Carolina Primary/ 2012 Presidential Race Most-Talked-About Story on News/Talk Radio During Week of January 16-20. Landing atop the Talkers TenTM this week is the South Carolina GOP primary election and the 2012 presidential race. The Talkers TenTM is a weekly chart of the top stories and people discussed on news/talk radio stations across America based on ongoing research from TALKERS and is published at Talkers.com every Friday. Coming in at #2 this week is the denial of the permit for the Keystone XL Canada to Texas oil pipeline. At #3 is the internet anti-piracy bills and the associated Wikipedia blackout and at #4 is the Euro Zone jitters and rising gas prices. View the entire Talkers TenTM chart here.
“Troublemaker” Visits Florida. Christine O’Donnell, former U.S. Senate candidate from Delaware and author of the best-seller Troublemaker (St. Martin’s Press 2011), kicked off her Florida speaking tour by sitting in on “The President’s Speakers Series” at Embry Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach broadcast live on WNDB, Daytona Beach and hosted by talk host Marc Bernier. O’Donnell says she is reaching out to college students to engage them in the political process for the upcoming election. This event was the 72nd in the series started by Marc Bernier in the mid-1990s. Pictured here during the event are Bernier (l) and O’Donnell (r).
TALKERS Top Talk Media Industry Stories for 2011.
TALKERS looks back at the top talk radio/media stories of 2011. It was a year marked by financial stress, corporate shuffling, format flips and the relentless march of technological change.
1. Radio Faces Continued Economic Hardship. Mired in debt and hampered by soft advertising sales, most radio broadcasting companies found 2011 to be challenging. Marked by cutbacks, limited budgets and job insecurity, talk radio – as well as all commercial radio – was a tough business in which to work.
2. Big Deals: Cumulus Closes Deal Buying Citadel. This was an enormous deal by any year’s standards with far ranging impact and implications on station formats and personnel — highlighted by serious material changes in format and personnel at KGO, San Francisco. Another significant deal of the year — Bonneville sells 17 Midwest/east major/large market stations to Hubbard Radio.
3. The Invasion of FM by Talk. 2011 was the year that the long-awaited migration of talk to the FM dial actually could be called a “trend” with numerous AM bastions picking up accompanying FM outlets for their programming. All signs point to this continuing in 2012 and beyond. Read the entire story here.
Geraldo Rivera Still a Possibility at KABC, Los Angeles? KABC, Los Angles talk host John Phillips’ recent e-mail to the Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan once again fires up the rumor mill leaving open the possibility that Geraldo Rivera – soon to be hosting the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at Cumulus Media’s WABC, New York – will also be heard on the company’s KABC. KABC management released the new program schedule on December 23 with Phillips listed as the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon host but now Phillips states he’ll do that shift through January 27. After that? No one’s saying. So read into that what you will but if Cumulus is spending good money to develop a Geraldo radio show, why not put it on in the nation’s second largest market to give the sales team more to work with? As for Phillips and his show that will follow Doug McIntyre’s morning program beginning next week, he tells Lycan, “The thought is your morning commute doesn’t end at 9:00 am, so neither will we. McIntyre and I are good friends, and by that I mean he’s yet to run me over in the KABC parking lot with his car, so we’ll share the same ethos and won’t stop beating the drum about L.A. and OC issues that directly impact our listeners’ lives.”
WHAM, Rochester Adds More Bob Lonsberry and More Local News to Schedule. Clear Channel’s WHAM, Rochester announces a new program schedule to begin in 2012 that adds another half hour of popular Rochester personality Bob Lonsberry to the schedule. In addition to Lonsberry’s solo 9:00 am to 1:00 pm program, he’ll join the WHAM Morning News crew – Chet Walker, Shari Smith, Randy Gorbman and John DiTullio – for the new “1180 WHAM Free for All” show from 8:30 am to 9:00 am. Additionally, the station expands the “WHAM Afternoon News” to a two-hour format from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Speaking to the changes, CC Rochester VP/GM Kevin LeGrett states, “We are very excited about this new 1180 WHAM lineup, which features 12 hours of local Rochester programming daily. When it comes to Rochester’s adults, 1180 WHAM owns the franchise and consistently achieves excellent results for our listeners, community and advertisers.”
Brian Michel New Operations Manager at Clear Channel Atlanta. The five-station Clear Channel cluster that includes news/talk WGST has a new operations manager. Brian Michel comes to Atlanta from Salt Lake City where he was OM at Simmons’ stations there. While he’ll serve as program director for country WUBL-FM, OM for the entire Atlanta cluster and he’ll also be acting program director for WGST, which as reported earlier this week, may be getting an FM simulcast in the near future according to local rumors.
Iowa Caucuses/2012 Presidential Race, Iran’s Saber Rattling, 2011 Retrospective, Kim Jong Il Funeral Parade and Preliminary Holiday Retail Sales Figures Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday. The fast-approaching Iowa Caucuses, Iran’s threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, the year of 2011 in retrospect, the funeral parade of North Korean leader Kim Jong Il and positive preliminary holiday retail sales reports were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS magazine.
WTMM-FM, Albany Host Bruce Jacobs Apologizes After Making Gay Joke. Talk radio pro Bruce Jacobs finds himself apologizing to the public (and probably fighting for his job) after referring to the WNBA teams the Los Angeles Sparks and the Phoenix Mercury as the “Los Angeles Lesbians” and the “Phoenix Dyke-ury.” Jacbos said in an on-air apology, “My comments yesterday were ridiculous, stupid and amateurish. I apologize for even uttering the comments, whether you heard them or not, whether you were offended or not.” He told the Albany Times-Union he doesn’t believe he should be fired for the remarks. “We live in a society today where no matter what you say, you’re a bigot or you’re a racist. I don’t like it, but it comes with the territory. So obviously I think that’s ridiculous.” Brian Noe, program director of the Townsquare Media sports talk station, e-mailed the paper saying, “Bruce’s insensitive statement is a serious matter that is being dealt with internally.” The station is no doubt feeling pressure from LGBT advocacy groups and others to terminate Jacobs for the misstep.
KABC, Los Angeles Announces New Program Schedule. Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles officially announces its new program lineup and, contrary to earlier reports, it will not include a simulcast of WABC, New York’s Geraldo Rivera. Instead, evening host John Phillips moves from his evening slot to the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon program. He follows Doug McIntyre and Terri Rae Elmer in the morning drive position. The rest of the day is: Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity, 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm; Larry Elder, 3:00 pm to 6:00 pm; Cumulus Media Networks’ Mark Levin, 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm; current morning drive host Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show; and Cumulus Media Networks’ “Red Eye Radio” with Eric Harley and Gary McNamara in the overnight slot. Program director Jack Silver states, “The revamped schedule is a great way for KABC to start the new year. The new lineup puts all of KABC’s incredibly talented hosts into time slots that highlight their strengths.”
WOR, New York Clears Dave Ramsey. Beginning January 2, the independently syndicated Dave Ramsey show will air on Buckley Broadcasting’s WOR, New York in the 8:00 pm to 10:00 pm slot. WOR VP/GM Jerry Crowley says, “In these rocky economic times, New Yorkers need a voice they can trust to guide them in their money decisions. We are proud to welcome the country’s top name in financial talk radio, Dave Ramsey, to our award-winning lineup in 2012.”
Rush Limbaugh May Be Moving to Clear Channel San Francisco Talk Outlet. Liners promoting Clear Channel’s newly realigned KKSF, San Francisco are reportedly hinting “America’s anchorman” is coming to the station along with the other changes in programming and the new call letters. You may have noticed that Clear Channel left a “to be determined” in the 9:00 am to 12:00 noon slot in its announcement of the new schedule that we reported earlier this week. Currently, Cumulus Media’s crosstown KSFO has the rights to the Premiere Networks program but it makes sense Clear Channel would want to bring the show into the company fold as it has done in some other markets.
ESPN Radio’s Dan Davis Retires. He’s been one of the primary voices of ESPN Radio’s SportsCenter since 1999. Now, Dan Davis – who began his radio career in 1962 at WEMJ, Laconia, New Hampshire – announces he’s hanging up the headphones to work on his golf game in Florida. Davis joined ESPN’s radio network when it launched in 1992 and became its primary SportsCenter update reporter in 1999.
Talk Pro Tom Donahue Signs with Oracle Broadcasting. Tom Donahue has been self producing webcasts and podcasts for the past six months but announced he’s joined Oracle Broadcasting as of this week (Dec. 19) hosting the live 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm ET program. Donahue tells TALKERS Oracle “is a bastion of free speech and offers a full spectrum of talk shows. Additionally, Oracle Broadcasting Network has a consistently solid, confirmable loyal listener base! I intend to cultivate my ties with radio stations and really grow my affiliate base.” Oracle is an internet-based network that Donahue says has the fidelity, transmission capabilities and sub-audible tone technology necessary to accommodate station automation.
More Holiday Fill-Ins. CBS Radio’s WFAN, New York takes advantage of its summer promotion/talent search “Fantasy Phenom II” and gives two-hour shows to the runners-up from the contest next week. Neeraj Joshi, Patrick Creighton, Mike McMaster and Pat Totaro will host a 1:00 am to 3:00 am shift during the week…..Nicole Sandler is filling in for Premiere Networks talk star Randi Rhodes through December 30.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. “Motley Fool Money” with Chris Hill is added to Radio One’s soon-to-be “News 92 FM” (KROI) in Houston…..“The Costa Report” with Rebecca Costa is added to Fisher’s KVI, Seattle as it returns to talk in January.
Payroll Tax Cut Issue/Congress Adjourns Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 19-23. The failure of Congress to agree on an extension of the payroll tax cut before adjourning for the holidays landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart of the most-talked-about stories of the week. Coming in at #2 was the 2012 presidential race. At #3 was post-Kim Jong Il North Korea followed by the euro zone debt crisis and financial markets activity at #4. The Talkers TenTM is published weekly at Talkers.com and is the result of ongoing research from TALKERS magazine. View the entire chart, including the most-talked-about people of the week, here.
Will Howard Stern’s Role on “America’s Got Talent” Hurt NBC’s Ability to Sell Ads? By now you know that it’s official that Sirius XM’s Howard Stern is replacing Piers Morgan on the very successful summer talent search program, “America’s Got Talent.” It didn’t take long for the Parents Television Council to react (they probably had the press release ready weeks ago!). PTC president Tim Winter stated, “In an act of desperation for a flailing network, NBC has hired Howard Stern – a performer who is synonymous with shock, profanity and obscenity – as a judge on a prime-time talent competition. The once-proud broadcast network has lost its way and has made it clear it holds no concern whatsoever for children and families. It also risks losing millions in advertising dollars.” We are not sure about the “flailing network” part – “America’s Got Talent” was the number one non-sports program among the four networks last summer and NBC has probably seriously considered what Stern’s effect on the program will be. Certainly Stern won’t be interviewing porn stars on the TV show but he does come with a reputation and if the PTC and other groups decide to mount a serious campaign against NBC, will they be able to hurt the network over Stern’s reputation and not what actually transpires on the show? Stay tuned.
Occupy KGO Draws Protesters to San Francisco Studios. Earlier this week TALKERS reported the planned Occupy KGO event scheduled for yesterday (12/15) in reaction to Cumulus Media’s firing of Gene Burns, Ray Taliaferro, Gil Gross and several other talk hosts as the station moves to a newsier format. The protest took place and, according to Matthew Lasar of RadioSurvivor.com, there were about 50 people gathered outside the studios at the height of the activity (accompanying photo from RadioSurvivor.com), including recently dismissed talk host John Rothman. Lasar says Rothman told him, “Our hope is that Mickey Luckoff, our former president and general manager, is in the process of putting together a deal which would take all of us to one station and hopefully we will go with our advertisers, and we’ll begin all over again.” KGO issues the following statement regarding the protest: “KGO listeners are passionate about their station. We appreciate their input and feedback as we evolve from a news/talk format to more news and information.” Occupy KGO protesters say they’ll be back on December 30 for another march.
New KABC, Los Angeles Lineup: Geraldo in, Elder to PM Drive and More. The Orange County Register’s Gary Lycan reports reliable sources tell him the new lineup for Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles is set and will debut in January. Already known is that Doug McIntyre and Terri-Rae Elmer will host “McIntyre in the Morning.” Lycan reports that Geraldo Rivera – emanating from WABC, New York – will host the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show on delay. Other changes include evening host John Phillips moving from his current slot to a one-hour 9:00 am to 10:00 am program. Premiere Networks’ Sean Hannity remains in the 12:00 noon to 3:00 pm slot followed by Larry Elder, who moves to the PM drive daypart from late mornings. Current AM driver Peter Tilden moves to the 9:00 pm to 12:00 midnight show following Citadel Media Networks’ Mark Levin in the 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm position.
Female Demo Innovator Debbie Nigro Targets 40-Plus Female Audience with “Still a Babe” Concept. One of the holy grails in talk radio programming is figuring out a dependable method of connecting with the underserved, under-reached female market. If anyone out there has experience and a degree of success in this arena, it’s radio pro Debbie Nigro of “Working Mom on the Run” fame. Now Debbie Nigro has turned her attention to reaching women ages 40-65 with her StillaBabe.com initiative. The veteran of WPIX-FM, New York and the aforementioned nationally syndicated “Working Mom on the Run” program which made a big buzz in the 1990s says the “Still a Babe” concept comes from the sum of her life’s experiences. She tells TALKERS special features correspondent Mike Kinosian, “It is about figuring out how to enjoy your life through it all and being around people who bring out the best in you. I have great instincts about people and have so much information to share. My revenue will come from media, product sales, offline events and licensing. This is a collective power of the purse. Women want to play with whom they trust. I let my guard down so they know who I am.” Nigro’s track record warrants industry attention. Read more and see her very cool video presentation here.
“Free Talk Live” Jumps into the Fray Between Mark Levin and Michael Savage. You already know that TRN host Michael Savage offered New Gingrich $1 million to quit the GOP race and, in response, Mark Levin offered Savage $100,000 to quit his radio program. “Free Talk Live” host and founder Ian Freeman isn’t asking either host to quit his job for money. Here’s his offer: “‘Free Talk Live’ will give $1,000 to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital if Mark Levin and Michael Savage will have lunch with an Orthodox Muslim and also an undocumented immigrant that is working to feed his or her family. Levin and Savage will have to video record their encounters and do less than 40% of the talking in each conversation. Each host can earn up to $500 for St. Jude by submitting one video for their lunch with the Muslim and another for the immigrant. Upon public upload to YouTube and once verified that the host listened in a video to at least 60% of the conversation, $250 will be given to St. Jude. If by 2012 the hosts have not accomplished this goal, ‘Free Talk Live’ will raise at least $1,000 to be given to St. Jude in the name of peace, freedom, and compassion for other humans.” If you’re interested in hearing more about this offer from Freeman, e-mail him at email@example.com.
Glenn Beck’s Mercury Radio Arts Leases Irving, Texas Studio Space for Production and Live Events. Since moving his personal residence to Texas, Premiere Networks star Glenn Beck has been working to relocate his Mercury Radio Arts production company to the Lone Star State and now it appears he’s found the space. The Studios at Las Colinas is an existing facility that’s been home to the production of Hollywood films (“Robocop,” “JFK” and “Talk Radio” to name a few). Mercury Radio Arts will lease space there for his GBTV studios from Muller Entertainment Studio Operations. The site comes complete with a 500-plus seat theater for live performances and Beck will invite live audiences for tapings of his eponymous GBTV show. He will also produce his radio program from the location. In a release, Beck says, “I have come to know and respect the people of Texas and could not be more excited about GBTV studios – the future home of GBTV and a multi-platform destination for the fusion of entertainment and enlightenment. We are proud to become part of the Dallas-Fort Worth area and are eager to become good neighbors and members of the local community.”
Cumulus Media Networks Names Jerry King Director of Operations in Dallas. Mike McVay recently left his consulting firm McVay/Cook & Associates to take the SVP of corporate programming at Cumulus. Now another McVay/Cook executive joins the Cumulus fold as Jerry King leaves his VP of operations and programming post there for the director of operations position with syndication arm Cumulus Media Networks in Dallas. King will oversee the network’s Dallas operations, as well as the program directors and the 24/7 satellite delivered radio programming in fourteen different formats originating from Dallas beginning January 1. Mike McVay states, “Jerry’s multi-format experience and expertise of the radio industry makes him a perfect fit for running our worldwide satellite operations as well as our diverse programming.”
Greater Media Introduces Anthony Michaels as New WLNK-FM, Charlotte PD. The talk-intensive Hot AC station features Bob & Sheri in AM drive and Matt and Ramona in PM drive. Anthony Michaels is the evening host and has served as interim PD for the station. Now, Greater Media Charlotte VP and market manager Rick Feinblatt announces Michaels’ new role as program director. “Anthony has done an amazing job as interim PD, along with his duties as APD and a night air shift. We look forward to him taking the station to the next level under his leadership.” Michaels replaces Kris Abrams who exited the post four months ago.
2012 Presidential Race Top News/Talk Story for Week of December 12-16. The battle between GOP primary candidates and the issues being discussed as part of the 2012 presidential race landed atop the Talkers TenTM chart this week. The Talkers TenTM is the result of ongoing research into the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio across America and is published every Friday at Talkers.com. Also on the chart this week at #2 is the threatened government shutdown/payroll tax cut issue. At #3 is the Iraq troop withdrawl and at #4 is NTSB cell phone ban proposal. View the entire chart here.
TALKERS Weekly Affiliate Roundup. Dial Global’s Dennis Miller is picked up by Pamplin’s KKOV, Vancouver, Washington…..“The Handyman Show with Glenn Haege” adds WGDJ, Albany; WILS, Lansing; WGHN, Grand Haven, Michigan; and KSZL, Barstow, California.
WTOP, Washington Expands Multi-Platform News Operation; News and Programming Pro Laurie Cantillo Named to Newly Created Program Director Position. Former WABC, New York program director Laurie Cantillo joins Hubbard Radio’s WTOP, Washington where she’ll work closely with vice president of news and programming Jim Farley for the organization that is also announcing the expansion and restructuring of its news and broadcasting staff. In a statement, WTOP explains, “One of the primary reasons for the new structure is to redefine the news workflow. Instead of the traditional model which takes broadcast content and tries to fit it into a digital hole, WTOP’s strategy will focus on the creation of news stories at the beginning of a process. A story’s execution will be determined at its origin. It will then be optimized for all the distribution platforms WTOP offers: radio, web, Facebook, Twitter and mobile. In addition to Cantillo joining the organization, other staff changes include: Current director of digital operations John Meyer moving into the newsroom as the architect of the social and digital strategy as it comes together with the current broadcast operation; current news director Mike McMearty becomes senior news director; assistant news director Mitchell Miller is upped to news director; Mike Gartell is now managing editor; Gary Emerling is named senior digital editor; and Darci Marchese becomes executive producer. Jim Farley states, “We will now have both a digital editor and a radio editor working together 24/7. No other radio station in America does this. And we are not just talking the talk; we are hiring more people, re-evaluating everything we do and making the necessary changes no matter how sacred or ingrained. The future is digital and WTOP will be the leader heading into that future.” Regarding Laurie Cantillo’s joining the WTOP operation, Farley says, “Laurie is one of the best, most-admired and well-liked program directors in America. She has solid news credentials, a great track record of ratings success in major markets and a great understanding of the power and potential of digital and social media.”
NPR Uses Grant for Digital Media Training and Multi-Platform News. Through a $1.5 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, NPR is expanding its training initiatives to increase the use of digital tools both at NPR member stations and in the NPR newsroom. According to NPR, “Building on successful training piloted by NPR a few years ago, the grant provides for the development of extensive training for more than 70 local public radio stations. Topics include strategies to build multi-media news operations, writing for the web, photography and the role of social media in newsgathering. These resources will dramatically improve the ability of participating stations to broaden and deepen their news production and better serve both new and existing audiences. The grant will also fund digital coaches for NPR journalists.” NPR chief executive officer Gary Knell says, “NPR is a major force in media today, helping more than 34 million people make sense of what is going on in the world. These digital training resources will ensure that NPR and hundreds of member stations nationwide continue to pioneer the use of new technologies to connect with new and existing audiences.”
Standard & Poor’s Downgrades CC Media Holdings on Long-term Debt Concerns. Standard & Poor’s credit analyst Michael Altberg states that softening ad demand and the uncertain global economy may slow the growth of revenue for Clear Channel’s parent company and while the ability to pay the debt that comes due in 2012 and 2013 isn’t seen as a problem, the notes that mature in 2014 and 2016 are bigger issues. The company faces secured and unsecured debt maturities of $2.9 billion in 2014 and $12.3 billion in 2016. S&P notes CC Media Holdings is considered highly leveraged and that could negatively affect its ability to re-finance before those debts come due. When that time comes, anyone looking to buy a radio station might find opportunity in what could potentially be the biggest fire sale selloff of sticks in recent history.
CBS Local Digital Media Partners with Examiner.com for Content Creation. The network of websites and mobile apps that make up CBS Local Digital Media is entering into a content creation relationship with Examiner.com to produce unique content for CBS’ locally targeted properties in more than two dozen major markets across the country. Examiner.com is a leading online publisher featuring local expertise from over 85,000 contributors, known as Examiners. The lifestyle content created through this partnership is described as “‘Best Of’ guides and ‘Top Spots’ lists covering a range of topics including arts and culture, shopping, food and drink, nightlife and music, as well as travel and outdoors.” CBS Local Digital Media president Ezra Kucharz states, “Over the course of the past 18 months we’ve built a platform that quickly garnered interest from millions of users searching for the best local news, information and entertainment. Taking our vision one step further by working with a stable of contributors with expertise in their field will greatly enhance the audience’s experience. This is not just about telling you where to go and what to see – it’s providing ‘insider access’ to a city you may be visiting or have lived your whole life that you can’t get anywhere else.”
Dr. Joy Browne Appears on TALKERS TV. She is by far the most successful psychology and relationships talker on radio in America. WOR Radio Network star Dr. Joy Browne is interviewed by TALKERS managing editor Kevin Casey at the seventh annual “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence and teenage dating abuse presented recently by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor Liz Claiborne, Inc. The event was held in the showroom at the Midtown Manhattan headquarters of the fashion company. Browne candidly discusses the state of relationship talk radio’s place within the news/talk playing field and explains the connections between psychology and all the hot issues discussed within the genre. To view this not-to-be-missed video, see TALKERS TV at the right on this page.
Glenn Beck’s GBTV Takes Over “Apocalypse” Reality Show. The program was once called, “Apocalypse, PA” when it ran on the History Channel last year but on Beck’s online venture GBTV it will be called, “Independence USA.” It follows Frank Belcastro and his family as they prepare to survive in a post-apocalyptic world by such means as devising a car that runs on wood instead of gasoline, becoming expert hunters and creating his own alcohol for barter when the money system collapses. According to TVNewser, the program debuts on January 18 with new episodes every Wednesday. It is the first reality show to become part of Beck’s GBTV where his own daily TV program is seen.
KFI, Los Angeles Debuts New Food Show with Neil Saavedra in January. The program is called, “The Fork Report,” and will have its premier airing on Saturday, January 7 hosted by KFI’s Neil Saavedra. The station says, “‘The Fork Report’ will be a food show like no other food show, delving into all things edible. The show will run the food gamut from local restaurants to kitchen gadgets, interviews with chefs to food news (like recalls, new products). If you can eat it or it’s a gizmo to help you prepare it…Saavedra talks about it.” Saavedra also hosts the KFI-based and Premiere Networks syndicated “Jesus Christ Show” and serves as the director of marketing for the Clear Channel station.
Katy Pavelonis Named VP of Sales at Grand Slam Sports. The St.Louis-based sports media company operates KFNS, St. Louis, KFNS.com, St. Louis Sports Magazine, Grand Slam Sports Promotions, SportsRadio 1380 and SportsRadio1380.com. Katy Pavelonis previously served as VP/director of sales at CBS Radio’s St. Louis cluster that includes news/talk KMOX. On her new position, Pavelonis states, “I am excited about starting with Grand Slam Sports. Having sold Cardinal baseball, Blues hockey and University of Missouri products in the past, I know how passionate the sports fans are here and how supportive the local advertising community can be for local sports. Marketing the incredible media mix that Grand Slam Sports provides to those advertisers is something I am very much looking forward to.”
NTSB Cell Phone Ban, 2012 Presidential Race, Payroll Tax Cut Issue and Iraq Troop Withdrawl Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/14). The National Transportation Safety Board’s recommendation that no personal electronic devices be allowed to be operated by motorists in the U.S., the GOP race to challenge President Obama in the 2012 election, Congressional leaders’ work to deal with the budget deficit and the payroll tax cut issue plus the withdrawl of U.S. troops from Iraq were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday, according to ongoing research from TALKERS.
Talk Radio Network’s Michael Savage Offers Newt Gingrich $1 Million to Drop Out of Race. TRN nationally syndicated talk host Michael Savage says he’s putting his money where his mouth is and is offering former House Speaker and presidential candidate Newt Gingrich $1 million to drop out of the presidential race. Savage says he’s been enumerating the reasons on his radio program why Gingrich cannot win a campaign against President Obama – only Mitt Romney can – and since that, in his opinion, is the most important problem the country faces, he’s making the financial offer. “If Newt Gingrich really loves this country as much as he says he does, if he really wants what is best for America, he will set his ego aside, call me and accept my offer. His continued candidacy spells nothing but ruin for conservatives, Republicans and all true American patriots.” Savage is giving Gingrich 72 hours to accept. There’s no word from the Gingrich camp but one competing syndication executive (who prefers to remain anonymous) says Gingrich better read the fine print, “It would be too bad if Newt deprives GOP primary voters of his ideas and energy, only to find out he’s getting $1 million worth of unsold Savage Nation t-shirts and jerky treats.”
Sacramento Occupy Protesters Target Clear Channel Sacramento. Organized by activist Sue Wilson’s Media Action Center, people upset by the loss of progressive talk programming were encouraged to “occupy” Clear Channel stations across the country yesterday (12/12) by asking to see the stations’ public files to learn about complaints to the stations and about the stations’ sales of political ads to candidates. About 11 protesters made their concerns known to KFBK, Sacramento management and, in an orderly fashion, inspected the station’s public file. Sheriff’s officers were on hand and protesters were not allowed to occupy the station. As is often the case, many people misunderstand a station’s obligation to provide programming that appeals to all citizens – a misunderstanding promulgated by the old Fairness Doctrine (now off the books). Wilson is quoted in the Sacramento Bee saying, “All our voices need to be heard.” But TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison puts it succinctly to a Bee reporter stating, “Fairness is not guaranteed by the First Amendment – freedom from government censorship is.” In what is apparently a separate movement, some Bay Area residents are planning an Occupy KGO event on Thursday (12/15) to protest Cumulus Media’s recent changes at KGO, San Francisco, although their argument doesn’t seem to imply unfairness – just anger at the changes made to the station’s programming.
Geraldo Rivera to KABC, Los Angeles Too? Respected Southern California radio trade writer Don Barrett is reporting that Don Imus said on his program that Geraldo Rivera – officially announced to be taking over the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon show at WABC, New York in January – will also be heard on Cumulus Media’s KABC, Los Angeles. Barrett writes that it wasn’t clear whether in which daypart Rivera would be heard but that it obviously raises the question of whom it may affect at KABC – specifically Larry Elder who hosts the late morning program there. Stay tuned.
Clark Howard Clarification. A number of industry readers may have glossed over yesterday’s story published by TALKERS about Dial Global financial talk host Clark Howard’s program and come away with an incorrect conclusion. Howard’s show is still three hours long. What’s changing is that Howard is repurposing some content for the third hour so that he can cut back on some of the long hours he’s putting in due to the multitude of media ventures in which he’s involved.
Bob Agnew Joins Carey Brothers as GM of On the House Media. Longtime sports and talk programmer Bob Agnew has been named general manager of James and Morris Carey’s “On the House Media” syndication firm. Agnew, who has served as program director of such diverse outlets as KNBR, San Francisco and KXNT, Las Vegas, will be responsible for developing the sales staff, managing affiliate relations, new business development and programming at the Brentwood, California firm that has syndicated the popular talk radio home improvement show “On the House with the Carey Bothers” for more than a quarter century. He will also work closely with the operation’s PR firm Kleber and Associates with regard to media relationships, client services and the expansion of the website. Upon making the announcement, James Carey tells TALKERS, “Morris and I and our entire team are thrilled to have Bob Agnew ‘take the reins’ and lead our media franchise as it enters its 26th year. We have had the pleasure of knowing Bob for over 20 years and have enjoyed an enduring professional and personal relationship. Bob’s unique combination of management, leadership and people skills make him superbly qualified to guide On the House Media in realizing its full potential. As one of the leading radio programmers in the U.S., Bob ‘gets’ what local radio stations – programming and sales – need to make their businesses successful. We are confident that Bob’s keen insight will be of tremendous benefit to our radio affiliates, marketing partners and audience.” OTH is a multi-media operation with a four-hour live Saturday show, weekday tips, podcasts, accessible on iPhones and iPads with the new OTH app. OTH has 140 radio show affiliates and 125 affiliates taking the daily tips.
Clear Channel Names Bob Stohrer Chief Marketing Officer for Clear Channel Digital. Stohrer will work with Clear Channel Digital president Brian Lekamp. He’ll oversee the national marketing plans, brand execution and social marketing efforts for CC Digital with an emphasis on iHeartRadio. Lekamp states, “Bob’s extensive experience in both brand positioning and creative development brings the innovative vision and tactical expertise that will increase brand awareness, drive growth and unlock our full potential moving forward. We look forward to the leadership and insight he will bring to the Clear Channel Digital team.”
CBS TV Expands “Face the Nation.” Bob Schieffer announced that CBS TV is turning its “Face the Nation” Sunday morning issues program into a 60-minute program beginning in April. The show has been a 30-minute production since its inception. Schieffer said on last Sunday’s program that the show will expand, “because more and more of you have been turning to ‘Face the Nation’ during this campaign season, so we thank you.”
Holiday Program Available to Stations. A three-hour program called “The Gift” is available to radio stations across the country for air between December 24 and 26. The program is produced by the Fisher House Foundation and created especially for the holiday season. It features interviews with wounded warriors Matt Zajac, Tammy Duckworth and Dale Beatty; the mother of an injured service member, Becky Ziegel; and a father who lost his son in combat, Robert Stanton. The stories – equally heartbreaking and inspiring – are vehicles to a greater understanding of the sacrifices our military and their families make every day, so that our nation may be home, safe and with their own families during the holidays. Fisher House Foundation chairman and CEO Ken Fisher says, “Just one percent of Americans serve in the military, protecting and safeguarding a population that does not fully appreciate the depth of sacrifice these people make. These people are true heroes. We want to let the world know just how much they do for us every day, and ensure that if they have a need, that it is met.” The Fisher House Foundation raises money to create housing for the families of wounded service personnel so they have a place to stay near them while they recuperate. Stations interested in carrying the program should contact Ron Rivlin at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Obama on “60 Minutes,” SCOTUS to Hear AZ Illegal Immigration Law Challenge, Weekend GOP Debate and Euro Zone Debt Crisis Among Top News/Talk Stories Yesterday (12/12). President Obama’s interview on Sunday’s “60 Minutes” program, the Supreme Court’s agreement to hear arguments challenging Arizona’s illegal immigration law, the GOP presidential candidates debate that took place over the weekend and the ongoing euro zone debt crisis were some of the most-talked-about stories on news/talk radio yesterday.
Cumulus Brings Geraldo Rivera to Radio at WABC, New York. Geraldo Rivera has done a lot of media in his career (including WABC-TV) but he’s never hosted a regular radio talk show. Beginning in January he’ll get his chance with the 10:00 am to 12:00 noon daily program following Don Imus and leading into Rush Limbaugh on Cumulus’ WABC, New York. Cumulus COO John Dickey tells The New York Times’ Brian Stelter the company’s research indicates “people are interested in hearing a different perspective, a different voice, a more balanced opinion” and although Rivera is actually a registered Republican, he’s more liberal than WABC’s Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Mark Levin. Dickey also states he expects Rivera to draw in younger listeners and females to the station. Rivera’s program will be a New York-only show but Dickey doesn’t discount the idea of going into syndication with Rivera if the show is a success. Rivera tells the Times, his show will have two positioning statements that help define him as a different kind of radio talk show host: “I’m Geraldo and I’m not always right” and “Not red, not blue, but red, white and blue.” Rivera still works at Fox News Channel where he’s been a correspondent since 2001 but his “Geraldo at Large” show airs just once per week though he also does daytime reporting and makes regular appearances on the channel’s midday “Happening Now” program. The late morning slot at WABC opened up when the station let Joe Crummey and Patty Steele go last week.
KABC, Los Angeles Confirms New Doug McIntyre Morning Drive Show. The host of the nationally syndicated Cumulus Media Networks late-night show “Red Eye Radio” begins his duties as host of “McIntyre in the Morning” on KABC, Los Angeles in January. Last week Cumulus announced it would merge the Eric Harley and Gary McNamara-hosted “Midnight Radio Network” program with “Red Eye Radio” and Doug McIntyre would leave those duties. Now, speculation that McIntyre moves back to morning drive at KABC – the program he hosted from 2004 to 2009 – is confirmed. News pro Terri-Rae Elmer – who announced her exit from Clear Channel’s crosstown KFI last week – is co-host of the new program. In a release, Cumulus says, “The show will feature McIntyre’s unique sense of humor and ability to get to the heart of the biggest stories affecting Los Angeles and Orange County.” McIntyre says, “I’m excited to return to the morning drive with leading radio station, KABC. I look forward to keeping my audience informed and entertained as they wake up with me each morning.” Current KABC morning host Peter Tilden appears to be staying with the company in a capacity to be announced later.
WBT-AM/FM, Charlotte Morning Host Al Gardner to Program Merlin Media’s Philly Station. Philadelphia native Al Gardner has been co-hosting the morning drive show at Greater Media’s WBT-AM/FM since 1997. In January he’ll return to his hometown to take on the vice president of programming position at Merlin Media’s WKDN-FM Philadelphia – a station Merlin is expected to flip to an all-news format. The Charlotte Observer reports the 64-year-old Gardner has been doing some consulting for the recently formed Merlin Media and Gardner tells the paper of his new gig, “This is a pinch-me job. It couldn’t be better.” Greater Media is letting Gardner out of his contract a year early to pursue the Merlin position. As for WBT, program director Carl East tells the paper sports anchor Jim Szoke will take on a bigger role on the morning program alongside current morning co-host Stacey Simms.
Dial Global Star Clark Howard Cuts Live Portion of Program to Two Hours. Saying he’s been burning the candle at both ends, money guru Clark Howard tells the Atlanta Journal Constitution’s Rodney Ho he’s cutting back on his radio work and will only do two hours of live programming daily. Affiliates that want to continue with three hours will get a third hour composed of best-of segments from the live show content. Clark Howard tells Ho that he’s just finished touring to promote his latest book, “Living Large in Lean Times,” and he recently had to take two weeks off after a bout with laryngitis. Howard, with some 600 radio affiliates, is a busy guy. In addition to his radio work, he does TV segments for 15 Cox-owned TV stations, hosts a weekend show on cable TV’s HLN and operates the digital media station clarkhoward.com.
Robert Wuhl and Doug Urbanski Shows to Be Dropped by Dial Global. That’s not the official word from Dial Global, it’s what TALKERS is hearing through the grapevine. Both Robert Wuhl’s and Doug Urbanski’s shows were Westwood One properties that came to Dial Global with the merger of the two companies announced back in August. Lean times make broadcast companies assess where they are spending money and we can only assume that the shows are not bringing in the kind of cash required to justify their continuation. It’s expected the shows’ affiliates have been quietly notified so they can make programming plans for 2012.
WWRL Morning Host Mark Riley on TALKERS TV. In an exclusive interview conducted by TALKERS magazine managing editor Kevin Casey on the scene at last Thursday’s “It’s Time to Talk Day” radio row, the veteran New York City broadcaster discusses the evolution of Big Apple urban talk radio as well as his own. Mark Riley points out that his AM drive program is heard by a variety of listeners including both African Americans and whites. He talks about the positive aspects of being local in the nation’s largest market and the spectrum of issues covered in a major metropolis including the impact of guns and violence in daily city life. Riley was one of more than 20 talk media personalities participating in the seventh annual radio row designed to raise consciousness about domestic violence presented by TALKERS and Talk Radio News Service in conjunction with corporate sponsor, Liz Claiborne, Inc. at the company’s Midtown Manhattan headquarters. See the interview with Mark Riley now at TALKERS TV in the column on the right side of this page.
WGN, Chicago Partners with Ad Agency for Holiday Fundraiser. Tribune Company talk station WGN, Chicago is partnering with ad agency Schafer/Condon/Carter to present “Carols for KidsSM” on Thursday, December 15 from 11:30 am to 1:30 pm. During that time listeners are encouraged to join WGN and Schafer/Condon/Carter staffers for the mass caroling event, the second hour of which will be broadcast live on WGN. The event included carols and entertainment from Chicago Blackhawks national anthem singer Jim Cornelison and Blackhawks forward Daniel Carcillo, the Chicago Gay Men’s Chorus, WGN Radio’s Orion Samuelson and more. Donations to the “Neediest Kids Fund” will be accepted on site during the event and online at www.SCCCarolsForKids.org. Lou Malnati’s will also be providing slices of pizza for all attendees for a suggested donation of $3 per slice. WGN VP/GM Tom Langmyer says, “We are so pleased that Schafer|Condon|Carter used its creativity to come up with this wonderful concept and chose the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ as its beneficiary. We look forward to working with them to continue to raise money for the WGN Radio ‘Neediest Kids Fund’ and help children all over Chicagoland.”